Music Therapy Helps Children With Special Needs!

Music therapy assists a child’s learning in multiple domains including cognitive, motor, social, emotional, and communication skills. Music therapists provide individualized treatment according to each child’s need.

Music Addresses Developmental Needs

Children with intellectual disability, visual or hearing impairments, autism, cerebral palsy, and other diagnoses all have specialized needs. Music therapy provides treatment goals that are both developmentally appropriate and child-specific.

Cognitive Skills. Putting academic concepts (like labeling items and sentence structure) to music can help your child’s motivation in learning! Music therapists can tailor songs to address your child’s particular needs!     

Motor Skills. Instrument playing can be an excellent way to increase gross and fine motor skills! Does your child love to play the drums or piano? Sensory feedback during instrument playing is naturally reinforcing and assists in maintaining attention to increase motor skill development.

Music Supports Social-Emotional Regulation

Music can help children regulate their emotions and express themselves through both verbal and non-verbal communication. Songs that help children label emotions receptively and expressively can assist in self-awareness and responsiveness toward peers.

Music Addresses Behavioral Needs

Music therapy can assist with self-help tasks at home and in the school environment. Does your child seem to have difficulty with teeth brushing or getting ready in the morning? Songs can reinforce following one and two-step instructions for daily routines. Use songs learned from your music therapy sessions throughout the day at home!

Music Supports Children With Medical Considerations

Many children with special needs need to adapt to frequent and long hospital stays, using medical equipment at home, and maintaining prescribed medications. Music therapy can offer positive stimulation, developmentally appropriate social interaction, and self-expressive opportunities for children who experience these things. Music therapists are trained to be informed, aware and sensitive to the medical considerations of their clients.

Looking for the science behind it?

Check out these articles:

Dieringer, S., Porretta, D., & Gumm, E. (2013). Using music therapy principles to enhance physical activity participation in children and adolescents with disabilities. Palaestra, 27(3), 42-46.

Krikeli, V., Michailidis, A., & Klavdianou, N. (2010). Communication improvement through music: The case of children with developmental disabilities. International Journal of Special Education, 25(1), 1-9.

Lense, M., & Dykens, E. (2013). Musical learning in children and adults with Williams syndrome. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 57(9), 850-860.

Sussman, J. (2009). The effect of music on peer awareness in preschool age children with developmental disabilities. Journal of Music Therapy, 46(1), 53-68.

Wetherick, D. (2014). Music therapy and children with a language impairment: Some examples of musical communication in action. Psychology of Music, 42(6), 864-868.




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