Monday, March 5, 2012

Update: Wednesday 3/7/12 by Tom Sweitzer

During the last month our Music therapy sessions with Forrest have turned to supplying JOY. Part of what we do as Music Therapists is musically disguise activities that a client might be weary or resistant of doing, such as physical movement, trained breathing, eye gaze exercises.

Forrest loves to start our session with a disco version of Zipeedeedodah and then watch everyone in the room wear crazy hats and dance around his chair. Music has brought Forrest a smile. THAT IS EXERCISE FOR THE FACE! Many people need to work those smile muscles more often. We have also found that distorted voices make Forrest happy as well. Not to mention when you wear a Panda Bear hat and talk in a “Cartoon” voice. Somehow, humor enters into Forrest’s being and out comes this SMILE!

During our breathing exercises, just yesterday Forrest responded by imitating my vocal sound. I noted that when he prepares to make a vocalization he takes a tremendous breath and his entire body becomes involved, obviously to perform this task is a great physical challenge. But, even though it must feel like pushing a 2 ton elephant up a hill – AHHHHHH – Sound. Quiet, soft, but it is there. There is a voice in there!

Forrest loves company and his daily routine is transformed completely when someone will come by and laugh with him or just wear a funny hat, or draws a sword and sword fights with him. We ask that any friends that are home for Spring Break please come by and just hang out. The feeling you will get after your visit is one you can take with you for the rest of your day, your life. Please contact me if you would like to join in our Music Therapy sessions while you are home from college. You can be a pirate, disco dancer or just come by and talk to your friend. Together, we will help Forrest find his voice again.
With the generous support of Forrest's friends and family, we have already raised over $6,400 for the Forrest Stone Allen Music Therapy Scholarship Fund. So far four children, who wouldn't otherwise be able to participate in Music Therapy, are receiving the joy and empowerment it can bring to their lives. To learn more about Forrest's Fund and the lives he has touched, see http://www.aplacetobeva.com/. More details will be included in our upcoming newsletter.
On another "note", Robin Cavanagh of Duchessa of Middleburg invites you to become their friend on facebook (Click here). With each new friend Duchessa of Middleburg makes during March 2012, Duchessa will donate 1$ to The Washington DC National Rehabilitation Hospital’s Therapeutic Garden and 1$ to The Forrest Stone Allen Music Therapy Scholarship Fund ( A Place to Be, Middleburg Virginia). This generous offer from Robin will help us reach out and touch more lives in Forrest's honor.

Love you Forrest,
Tom Sweitzer





Music Therapy lessens the tedium of strength and flexibility work.
























Music and Humor are powerful tools in Forrest's recovery!
























Forrest relives The Hill School 8th Grade musical, "Guys and Dolls".








11 comments:

  1. Hi Forrest, it is your Aunt Tricia in Oregon. What great progress! Just seeing your smile and that sideways glance warms my heart. What a wonderful post from Tom, his voice and words carry the message that we all need to hear. Music is life and all of us need to smile more. Seeing the photos and listening to Tom's words made me smile. I wish I could be there to dance around the room wearing a Panda hat! And soon your voice will come through, just keep practicing and smiling and believing. Love Aunt Tricia

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  2. Forrest, this is Grandmom Allen.I'm so thrilled you have a VOICE in there beginning to come out! haha I know how your MUM, DAD, and AUSTIN must feel, as well as everyone else. Shouting to the rooftop probably. We should all be so lucky to have a Tom Sweitzer in our lives. :) Looking forward to seeing you again one of these months Forrest! Glad you are smiling a lot. You've no idea how seeing that smile thrills my heart. Love you all so-o much. And 'hi' Austin!! Grandma Norma

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  3. Hi Forrest,

    I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying your music therapy, and it's wonderful that you have started up the fund to help other kids to attend that special kind of therapy. Music is one of the best things in the world to liven up a place!! Another thing that helps so much in that area is when the different pets can come visit you--there's just nothing like a sweet dog, cat or horse giving you their full attention and adoration! I love the crazy hats and pictures, too. You're lookin' good!

    Keep up the good work! We're all continuing our prayers for you!!

    Love and Prayers,

    Wilbur and Joyce

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  4. YAY!!!!! Congratulations to Forrest, Tom and Team Forrest!
    -Fraley Coles

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  5. Forrest,
    Great news that you are finding your voice! Keep up the good work. We rejoice with team 44.
    You are always in our thoughts and prayers but especially now with your surgery coming up in a couple of weeks.
    Love,
    The Selfes

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  6. Hey Forrest. I'm so glad I got to meet Tom when I was there. What neat things he is doing. And they are working. And they are fun. Can't beat that. And good for YOU as always for working so hard. And if I was dancing around it would really make you laugh. ha ha Much love

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  7. Thinking of you as always, and just checking in with a written word - we are hopeful and praying with all our being for surgical success and ease in recovery in the next few weeks. Your smiles and beautiful eyes are heart-warming Forrest, and the hard work you do every minute is inspiring. As is the work and caring and love of your amazing Team. We hope to be able to see all of you SOON. With love, the Shermans

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  8. LOVE SEEING THAT SMILE, Forrest!!! God bless you and bless Tom and his oh so incredibly fun and effective therapy. What a way to start Monday....seeing a photo of your smile and hearing that you are working so hard to talk to us again. What joy it will be to hear your voice one day soon.

    I had fun visiting you and Austin last week. You were soooo sleepy, but your eyes opened wide when you saw our new puppy. Frankie thought your hand was the tastiest he'd encountered in awhile. :) We apologize for the one unauthorized lick to your face. :-/

    Forrest, you have put on weight, your skin color is glorious and your man cave is truly that - a loving cave filled with pictures and sunlight and people that love you. Your brother Austin is your strongest ally and champion when your folks aren't there competing for the position. Austin is gentle, knowledgeable, kind, and protects and provides for you all the while he converses with those of us visiting. I know your brother is special to you, Forrest - I can only imagine the gratitude you feel in your heart for him.

    Jim and I were at Emmanuel Sunday before last and it was a beautiful, spring morning. Our church is old and tiny, but very dear. During the prayers of the people, your name was called out and all of us gathered prayed for your healing. What a thrill it was to hear your name spoken and the deep, resonant sound of all our voices asking God to hear our prayer in response. Dear boy, your entire community is pulling for you and is cheering from the sideline on this race that has been set before you and your family.

    I've been reflecting on your incredible family lately. And how deeply they love and care for you. And don't laugh, then I thought of your hair. Yes, that's right - your hair! I've said this to you before, but I am envious of your gorgeous, thick hair.

    I recalled a couple of incredible verses that assure us that even the hairs on our heads are numbered. Imagine that - God knows and loves you so intimately, that he even knows how many hairs are on your head! And you have A LOT OF HAIR. :)

    As much as your family loves you, dear boy, know that you are dearly loved and treasured by God - he has never left your side.

    We love you and your family dearly, sweet Forrest. Keep smiling and know that we cheer your every success.

    Love,
    Shannon, Jim and the girls3 XOXO

    And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:30

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  9. Wanted to let you know that all our thoughts and prayers are with Forrest and the entire team as you pass over the next major hurdle in Forrest's recovery. We will be thinking of you and sending positive vibes your way. Praying for a hugely successful procedure and a full and speedy recovery. Love and Huge Hugs from The Rafferty Family.

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  10. Hi Allen/Stone family. We Livermore's from your pony club past have been following Forrest's progress and send Forrest and Team 44 our prayers for your continued push forward, especially with this upcoming surgery. Forrest looks so much more involved and seems to be getting steadily stronger since being home! Thank you for allowing us to be involved with your daily steps, be they small or large. We look forward to and pray for a successful surgery. Lots of love from Lucia DiBenedetto and the Livermore children.

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  11. Grandma Norma AllenMarch 22, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    Hi Forrest This is Grandmom. Aunt Carolyn, Aunt Shirley and your Grandma Norma want you to know we are praying for you to have a good surgery and that it is successful in all ways. We are asking God to bless You, Mom, Dad and Austin as you go through this trying time. And please God grant Dr. Armondo and his surgery team the skills needed for a perfect outcome. I LOVE YOU FORREST.

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