Music Therapy Helps Special Needs Children at Home
Parents already know that their children respond well to music. What they may not know is that music therapists are using music to help special needs children learn.
I recently gave a presentation on music therapy to a room full of parents of special needs children including Down Syndrome and Developmental Delays. One of the first questions I asked was “What role does music play in your child’s development?” I was impressed and excited about the answers I received from parents who had not even heard of music therapy, but who had seen the significance of music in everyday life.
Several parents mentioned that they used music to help their child get from point A to point B (AKA transitions). Many of them sing favorite songs to their child to motivate or prepare them for transitions.
Others said music helped their child learn concepts or ideas. Some parents had even set academic ideas to music or found existing songs to help their child understand what they were learning at school.
Some said they used music to help calm their child when they were upset.
Others talked about using music to help special needs children work through everyday routines. One mother even said that she feels like her life is a musical because she sings so much to her little boy to get him through every little routine (bath time, dinner, getting into the car, etc.). I loved that!
As I continued during the presentation and talked about how music therapists use music to affect additional areas such as social skills, connecting with others, or developing fine and gross motor skills, many of the parents naturally latched on to these ideas because they had already seen that they were true for their child. They already knew the information, they just didn’t know that they knew it. And they didn’t know the science of why it worked, they just knew that music was beneficial for their child.
It became apparent to me that these parents were already sold on the importance of music; They just hadn’t really thought about it yet. What they didn’t know was that there is an entire profession devoted to using music to help special needs children progress: Music Therapy! Music Therapists take this innately powerful and grossly underutilized medium of MUSIC and use it to help bring about meaningful learning and growth.
As Board-Certified Music Therapists, we study music and therapy in depth (for 4 years, followed by 1040 hour internship and a National Board Exam), discover techniques and processes on how to use it to bring about change, develop individualized goals and objectives based on client needs, apply music interventions to address those needs, then watch the music do wonders! I honestly feel like our profession puts all others at a disadvantage because what we have, being music, is so intensely powerful. Music can bring out the very best in every individual. It can bring an individual to a healthier and more complete state. It can heal hearts.
It can change lives.
But really, you already knew that.
Music as a therapeutic approach is powerful, effective, and underutilized. There are so many individuals who could be living more full and productive lives if only they were able to tap into that power.
So what to do? Think about how you already use music–for yourself or a child/loved one with special needs. Consider the impact it has, then consider the insight that may come from a trained music therapist; Someone who has had extra schooling specifically to find out how to use music to promote change and growth. It is most definitely worth the effort!
Take a step! Schedule a Free Music Therapy Consultation