Music therapy can support infants, children and young people with neurological impairments resulting from various conditions, for example, Epilepsy or Rett syndrome.
The Registered Music Therapist engages the client in a variety of music-based interventions within a therapeutic relationship to specifically address the individual’s goals. For example:
· Song singing.
· Instrument playing
· Structured and free improvisation.
· Music and movement.
· Song writing.
· Music and relaxation.
Goals may be related to multiple areas of development such as:
· Social skills.
· Motor skills.
Research has found music therapy interventions to be successful at facilitating attention towards a central learning activity (Sussman, 2009). The musical framework facilitated by the therapist promotes the development of more expressive and creative playing by the client (McFerran and Shoemark, 2013).
These reciprocal interactions allow for the client’s communicative skills to develop within the music, which can then be transferred to non-musical environments.
Charlotte* is five years old with a diagnosis of intractable epilepsy, and participates in music therapy once a fortnight at her home.
Charlotte’s music therapy goals are to increase her communication skills, including choice making, non-verbal communication and self-expression, increase her body awareness and fine and gross motor control.
Her current music therapy sessions address these goals by engaging her in action songs, familiar song singing, percussion and iPad instrument playing. Instrumental improvisation with her family and carers is also part of her program.
Charlotte observably progresses each session, expanding the purposeful use of her voice, intentional communication and asserting her independence and personality through musical interactions.
Charlotte’s music therapist also works collaboratively with other members of her therapy team, coordinating joint treatment sessions to work together to support her to reach her goals.
*Real name not used.