Put Music Therapy ALL OVER the Map

Not just on it.

It’s music therapy advocacy month! For the past 5 years music therapists everywhere on social media have come together in the month of January to advocate for music therapy. Music Therapy Kids is ecstatic to participate this year too!

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Music therapy has been around for 60+ years as a profession, yet I still answer this question almost every day:

You do what__ (2)

It turns out that walking around with a guitar on your back and a bag full of instruments always provides a quick opportunity to share what music therapy is (or isn’t). Luckily I work with some amazing teachers and therapists and have some of the most precious families in my private practice who “get” it.

If you are someone who “gets” music therapy: THANK YOU. Thank you because I know you advocate too! 

Scope of Practice

As the profession of music therapy has been moving forward with recognition at the state level it has been identified that a document was needed to reflect a similar format to other health care professional organizations Scopes of Practice. CBMT and AMTA worked together to create a Scope of Music Therapy Practice (2015) for the profession based on published documents from both organizations.  This new document is available as an educational tool and legislative support document that broadly defines the range of responsibilities of a fully qualified music therapy professional with requisite education, clinical training, and board certification.

Click here to read the Scope of Music Therapy Practice (2015).

State Recognition – Why?

We want to PROTECT OUR CLIENTS by making sure that the very best services are out there. When you call a music therapist to provide services for your son or daughter with special needs, you want to know that person is highly qualified. State recognition will help ensure that practicing music therapists have the proper credentials and will also help as we seek to provide expand our services to those who need us!

Thus far, the states of Georgia, North Dakota, and Nevada have successfully passed legislation creating licensure for music therapists!

Re: Vision

My vision for the field of music therapy is to work in a world where most people know what we do. I don’t just want music therapy “on” the map. I want it ALL OVER the map!

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When music therapy comes up in conversation, it goes like this every time:

  • “Oh yeah. My nephew is diagnosed with Autism and sees a music therapist. It has really helped with his speech and social skills.”
  • “Sure. I know what that is. My brother is a special education teacher. He talks about having the music therapist in every week and how awesome it is when the kids respond.”
  • “When I was in the hospital a music therapist came to see me. She really helped reduce the pain I was in.”

Music therapy advocacy – sometimes seeing is believing. Or sometimes reading a true story helps too.

I’d like to tell you a story that happened to me.

In my practice I primarily serve children diagnosed with Autism, speech impairments, and intellectual disabilities. Usually the person who first contacts me is the parent, but when we meet for the first time, the whole family tends to show up. Everyone is curious to know what exactly they are getting into.

So one particular time, the whole bunch showed up and grandpa sat over in the corner. While I talked with mom he rolled his eyes, hmmphed, and interjected his doubts. It was pretty awkward.

It was time for me to work with the child as part of my assessment. Immediately the child began to sing with me. He started smiling, making eye contact, and laughing. He continued to interact by playing instruments and attending to a story set to music.

Everyone was floored. Brother and sister “didn’t know he could do that.” Mom was crying. Grandpa said, “We are doing this every week. How soon can we start? I will pay for this all day long.“

After seeing his grandson respond, he understood music therapy! He told all his friends about music therapy. He came to every single session. At home, they practiced everything we did in sessions.

Did music therapy take away this child’s Autism? Nope. He is still his sweet, quirky self and everyone loves him just the way he is. However, music therapy has helped him develop crucial communication and social skills that his family longed for him to have.

I hope you will take this information and pass it along. Music therapy makes a difference. It is my vision that when someone needs help (in my case parents or caregivers who have children with special needs), they will think of the music therapist when seeking treatment.

Have you worked with or observed a music therapist? Do you have a music therapy story to share? We want to hear it! Tell your music therapy story in the comments or email me – mary@musictherapykids.com

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