Music Therapy Success Stories with Special Needs Children
Special needs children make significant gains with music therapy. Here are a few examples.
In all honesty, “Music Therapy Success Stories” is a hard subject for a post–and not because the stories are hard to find. Quite the contrary, actually. There are thousands and thousands of touching stories of music therapy with special needs children that it’s hard to summarize. The challenge comes in finding a way to succinctly present stories in a way that does justice to the incredible work that is being done around the country, while helping you to feel hope for your unique situation and what music therapy can do for you.
I could cite the research, with published journals starting back in 1950, full of techniques and principles of therapy found to be effective with a range of populations.
I could post selections from the thousands of online videos showing music therapy in action with special needs children.
I could post links to stories from other music therapists who have written about the successes they have seen with their clients.
I could share anecdotes from parents who share how their child was significantly impacted by music therapy.
But really, there is too much information online to put into one article, one video, or even one book on the subject. And what really matters is whether music therapy will help you succeed. You. Your
In my 8 years as a therapist to date, I have worked with a wide range of clients in a range of settings with a range of treatment goals. I have seen my clients progress and excel exponentially in some areas, and make gradual but steady progress in others. I have awed at the innate power of music to heal, to change, to motivate, to grow, and to connect. I have seen special needs children begin to do something they had never done before, and I am a firm believer that music therapy can have an impact on anyone. For some it will be more profound than others, but it can touch everyone in some real way.
Here is a brief picture of some of the successes I’ve seen with my clients.
One 6 year old client with Autism showed substantial progress in music therapy. He began to:
- say “hello” to his grandmother for the first time–at age 6–
- use words and phrases to make a request instead of having a tantrum to communicate
- interact with his peers by sharing instruments with them, looking at them, and even greeting them when they entered the room
A 16 year old with a seizure disorder learned to:
- Recite her address independently
- It took her 2 years to memorize her address without music in the classroom–then she moved. It took her only 11 weeks of music therapy sessions (lasting 10-15 minutes each) to memorize the new address when put to a song.
A 14 year old boy with Cerebral Palsy was able to:
- Put 5-6 words together. Without music therapy he was only able to say 1-3 words at a time.
A 12 year old client with Down Syndrome began to:
- Smile and find joy!
- Play and connect with other people through music
- Gain confidence when interacting with her peers
- Follow directions with decreased negative behavior
I could go on and on about the progress I have seen firsthand. And I am just one of 7,000 music therapists in the United States alone. The bottom line is that music therapy is powerful, it brings about success, and it is worth every penny to see how it will change you and your loved ones.
What will YOUR success look like? What will YOUR story be?
I do still feel a need to share some of my favorite success stories that are out and about on the web with special needs children. These can get you started, and trust me, it is so easy to find more!
One of my favorite quotes from this video clip is when the father says
“When they have been successful, it’s because they have incorporated music into whatever their lesson plan is”. We find this ALL the time!
Here are a couple more links:
Success story examples from the American Music Therapy Association
Special Education Music Therapy Success stories from Coast Music Therapy