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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Parent Resource Page: Using Music To Help Your Child With Disabilities

*This page is actively updated*

Music Therapy:


  • American Music Therapy Association - The official site for music therapy as a profession. This site includes a very informative FAQ section describing music therapy and its applications.
  • Prelude Music Therapy - Kathleen Coleman and Betsey King have developed many useful materials for use in music therapy. Kathleen is a pioneer in music therapy in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and offers helpful information about music therapy in the public school setting.
  • What Happens in a Music Therapy Assessment - This article answers many questions that I regularly receive from teachers as I prepare to evaluate a student in their classes.

Music Strategies and Inspirational Stories:

  • Scooby Doo Meets His Match! - A story about the power of live music and singing to help a boy with autism do his work.
  • Using Music With Children Who Have Visual Impairments - Children who have visual impairments or blindness combined with disabilities such as mental retardation, autism, Down and other syndromes present unique challenges for using music therapeutically. These children also tend to have more acute sensory defensive behaviors towards objects in the environment. Therefore, I often employ music strategies to address non-musical objectives instead of trying to teach music as a skill.
  • A Schoolhouse Story About Singing and Stimming Behaviors - Henry is a delightful boy in the second grade. He has recently been labeled as having an an autism spectrum disorder and his behaviors are consistent with many of the common characteristics of autism. One of these characteristics is his desire for self-stimulation through hand flapping, visual and verbal perseveration, muscle flexing and in Henry's case, singing.
  • William Learns To Walk Like A Man - I am fortunate that many behavior problems disappear during music therapy activities. The teachers I work with often joke that I remain around longer so that their students continue to pay attention and remain sitting appropriately. These students do not have bad teachers, but the power of the music activities is often strong enough to maintain order during the music therapy session without many of the behavioral interventions that are necessary during regular classroom activities.

Tools on the Web:

  • Songs for Teaching - This very useful site has educational songs grouped by category and subject. Visitors to the website can listen to music samples and view song lyrics.
  • Music Makes Sense store at Amazon - A collection of books, music and instruments that I use in music therapy activities or that I recommend for use by teachers and parents.
  • West Music - West music is a full-line music store with a very nice catalog and internet website. They have most of the musical instruments that would be used in a classroom setting. I have met many of the West music employees while working at conventions and highly recommend their services and products.
  • Disaboom - A community on the web developed by a doctor with quadriplegia. Here you may find ways to connect with other people with disabilities, hear their stories and benefit from their knowledge.
  • Go Fish Guys - Music written for kids that is safe to listen to and nice enough that it won't drive parents crazy!

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