Music therapist supports autistic children at the Bass Museum (includes video story)

Paloma Dueñas is a music therapist with over two decades of experience. She spends some mornings in Miami Beach’s Bass Museum teaching “Baby Bass.” Dueñas has taught toddlers sensory music and art in the museum’s Creativity Center for 10 years. 

“In the museum, these two and three-year-olds are a lot like a child with autism,” she said. “The brain at that age is very much into sensory exploration, learning about the senses.”

She credits her success at the Bass Museum to her extensive experience. After graduating, Dueñas completed her music therapy residency with Alzheimer’s disease patients before shifting to working with toddlers. 

“Somehow in me, there was this thing of the kids, and I wasn’t really sure who they were,” she added.  “I’ve really never felt that call to be a mom. But the kids were in my head and in my heart.”

For eight years, she worked at Crystal Academy, a school in Coral Gables that specializes in teaching kids with autism. According to the CDC, the prevalence of autism in the U.S. has risen from 1 in 150 children in 2000 to 1 in 36 children in 2020.

“The school system is not ready,” she said. “There are big volumes of them without a diagnosis, and I don’t know — something has to give. We need alternative ways of learning.”

The Bass Museum’s Creativity Center invites therapists and parents into the sessions to help kids on the spectrum participate and enjoy art.

Samantha Gutierrez is a student journalist majoring in Digital Communication and Media. As a bilingual reporter, she enjoys covering stories about her diverse Miami community. With a strong passion for broadcasting, she aspires to pursue a career as a multimedia journalist in South Florida.

Dennisse Diaz is a senior majoring in Digital Broadcasting Media and minoring in entrepreneurship. She is originally from Venezuela. Since her arrival to the United States in 2017, she has never stopped pursuing her dreams of becoming a news anchor, correspondent, or investigative reporter. She is passionate about traveling, photography, culture, responsible knowledge, marketing, and content creation.

Marcelo is a transfer student from the University of Central Florida, majoring in Digital and Interactive Media. Born in Cuba, he plans to pursue a career in videography and video editing. His experience, openness, and bilingual skills make him a valuable asset to any news organization. In addition to his expertise in video editing, he is also interested in journalism and its related industries.

Hermann Diehl is a Cuban Guatemalan born and raised in Miami, Florida. He is majoring in digital media and communication at Florida International University. Hermann loves to bring stories to life with videography and photography and aspires to create a production company that shoots things such as
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