Music Therapy in Special Education: Data from Utah Schools
The data speaks for itself when considering the impact of music therapy in special education. Here is some data from Utah Schools.
We have seen some exciting gains from students receiving music therapy in various school settings in Utah. Harmony Music Therapy has provided music therapy services in a variety of school settings including public schools, state programs, charter schools, and private educational institutions. We focus on IEP or pre-academic skills and use music therapy interventions to teach and reinforce educational concepts.
Here is what we’ve found.
Students with Autism
At a Charter School for students with Autism, we saw consistent data over a two year period, where students receiving group music therapy 2x/month improved on IEP goals by more than 50%. And not only did they improve, but they performed and average of 25% better in music therapy compared to any other setting on the same goal.
So basically, our students are likely performing 25% worse without music therapy than they could with it.
In terms of a “grade” (which is not used for IEP goals, but does give perspective to improvement), music therapy would take them from a C- (70%) to an “A” (95%).
And that was only with having music therapy every other week in a group setting. Imagine what strides these students could take if they were to receive 1) more regular services, and 2) have option for individual music therapy.
The results would be substantial.
Students with Hearing & Vision Impairments
In a state-wide program for students with hearing and vision impairments where students received group music therapy 2x/month students improved an average of 35% on goals for those receiving weekly music therapy. In this setting, goals were taken from an “Independent Living Skills Assessment” instead of the IEP, and reflected consistent growth on pre-learning skills (i.e. respond to a peer, express preference, etc.).
Students with Severe and Profound Disabilities
And at a center based school, here are some of the gains students made with music therapy:
- Without music therapy, a student with a seizure disorder took 2 years to memorize her address–and then she moved. With the help of music therapy she learned her new address in just 11 weeks.
- Without music therapy, a student with cerebral palsy could only say one word at a time. With music therapy, he was able to put together 6+ words at a time.
- Without music therapy, a student with Autism refused to exercise on the treadmill to improve his health. With music therapy, he eagerly walked on the treadmill and experienced improved health and weight loss.
- Without music therapy, a student who was Deaf Blind and Autistic threw everything she touched. With music therapy, she learned to hold and explore objects to improve her learning and sensory tolerance.
- Without music therapy, a student with multiple disabilities and vision impairment cried every time someone tried to help her touch objects. With music therapy, she began to reach out independently to touch and explore her world.
- Without music therapy, a nonverbal student with Autism wandered the room humming intensely with little awareness of others. With music therapy he learned to connect with other people and even sing along with them.
And the list goes on…
Music Therapy in special education is not just about numbers, although those numbers are impressive. It’s about making a real and deep connection with students with disabilities. It’s about discovering their strengths, their passions, and providing them an opportunity to learn and blossom in the educational setting.
We see significant progress on IEP goals when using music therapy as a related service. And we see even more significant progress in human relationships when students make music and learn through the process.
So what will YOU do with this compelling info? Start by contacting us to see how you can access music therapy services in your special education setting!