Articles for May 2014

The Ocean Drum, A Great Tool For Engagement With ASD Children!

The methods I described last week, in The Ocean Drum, A Great Tool for Music Therapy Groups! have been very successful in the group setting. But I have also used the ocean drum as an effective method to reach children that were unable to join the music therapy group. William was in a self-contained class for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He had a hard time interacting with peers and staff and spent a lot of time sitting under the cubbies. He seemed interested in music therapy because I could see him watching the group. But he was unable to interact with me or the other children and would not join. One morning, I arrived to his class early. The teacher took the other kids for a morning walk around campus. William stayed in the room with an assistant. I sat down on the floor under the cubbies at the opposite end from him. I had the big ocean drum in my hands and I sat quietly just moving it gently and humming. William watched intently but did not come nearer. After a few minutes I put the drum down and walked away. Within seconds William had come out of his corner and was looking at the drum. He didn’t touch it or interact with me that first day, but watched while I used it in the group as I described last week. The process was repeated the following week and William did pick up the drum and examined it. I tried to engage him, but he put the drum down and went back to his corner. Finally, by the 4th week, William allowed me to hold the drum with him and to sing quietly. I started working with him before the group each week and introduced other instruments. As William became more comfortable with me and with the instruments, he also became interested in the music therapy session and by the end of the first quarter began to join his peers. The teacher reported that his social behaviors were carrying over into the general classroom. By the end of that school year, William became a leader and would request songs and play instruments with his classmates.

provides visual, auditory and tactile input

provides visual, auditory and tactile input

The ocean drum is a multi-sensory instrument that provides auditory, visual and tactile input. When presented in the right way, it can also be used to facilitate a trusting relationship between the therapist and the client, which builds a strong foundation for social skill development. The techniques discussed in these two posts have been successful with many children of different age levels and varying needs. Music in itself is motivating and music therapists have special training to engage people of all ages in the music making process. It is that engagement that helps individuals learn and grow while at the same time, making neurological connections in the brain and physiological changes in the body.

Do you use the ocean drum in music therapy sessions? Please post your ideas and comments below.

Share Button

The Ocean Drum, A Great Tool for Music Therapy Groups!

One of the biggest lessons learned in the almost 20 years of working with people, is that every single one of us is different! While we may share character traits related to a medical or psychological diagnosis, each person is still unique.  Many times a technique that works with one individual may not work with others, so when I find a technique, or tool that meets a variety of individual needs and goal areas, I gladly adopt that method into my practice.

provides visual, auditory and tactile input

provides visual, auditory and tactile input

The ocean drum that I use  is 22” round and about 4” deep. The back piece is a specially treated canvas material that has an ocean print design, and the top is clear plastic. Inside the drum is a whole bunch of small metal beads or bb’s.  When held in a horizontal position and gently moved side to side this drum really sounds like the ocean. When the drum is held with the clear side up, I encourage participants to put their hand under the drum and feel the beads move over the canvas. I tell my preschoolers to hold out “flat pancake hands under the drum” so they can feel the tickles. Then I have them lie down on the floor and put it on each child’s tummy so they can feel it. After they have felt it that way, I tell them that this drum also sounds like the ocean at night. I remind them that they have already seen, heard and felt the drum, so there is nothing to be afraid of, but it will be louder. I then turn the drum over so the clear side is on the bottom. The kids are still lying down, so I move the drum over them and encourage them to look up. There is a visual sense of being under water looking up at the drum this way. I present it in a more age appropriate way with older kids and adults. The ocean drum is an important part of the multi-sensory approach, because, in addition to providing visual, tactile and auditory input, presenting the drum in this way also addresses auditory sensitivity issues.

Next week, I will provide a more in-depth example of how the ocean drum was used to foster trust, learning and self-esteem with a young child with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

How do you use the ocean drum? Please let me know in the comments below!

Share Button

Music Therapy Saves Money In Special Education

 So you just read the title and clicked on this post, all the while you  may be thinking to yourself, “Oh come on, how can a service that I have to pay for out of my already stretched thin budget really save my facility money?”First of all let me say that YES, You will have to pay for music therapy services, BUT keep on reading and I will elaborate on how it will save you money.Evidence-Based Research with Proven Results Music therapy is a scientifically based practice. Music therapist’s set goals for each individual or group and we document progress toward those goals. We conduct research and publish the results in our professional journals and those of related disciplines.

So if you are the administrator for a public or private special education program, these are outcomes that are experienced by a large majority of students– even those individuals that don’t respond well to other types of interventions.

¯ Reduces disruptive behavior –In June of 2003 Psychiatric times published a review of    music therapy research that concluded that music therapy is an effective modality to reduce disruptive behavior in children and teens with behavior disorders, communication disorders and autism spectrum disorders. Read that article here.

¯ Music Therapy Enhances Social Skills Enhances social skills – The National Institute of Health website posted research on specific music therapy techniques to support social skill development for children and adolescents. The research was conducted at three separate sites and concluded that social management and peer relations skills were significantly improved for the children in the program. Read that study here.

¯ Builds trusting relationships – One of the key ingredients to achieving goals and objectives is to have a  consistent structure and a strong rapport between the   therapist and the students. As the mutual trust is developed, therapists can personalize goals and objectives for each student and address  individual needs within the group. Music therapy sessions are fun so children look forward to the weekly sessions and this can be used as a motivation to achieve goals outside of the music  therapy sessions as well.

¯ Improves language and communication skills – In May 2011, researchers in Australia published a study of a music therapy program for disabled children and their parents and found that language and communication skills were improved as were the non-verbal communication and parent/child bond. Click here for the link. The practice of Neurological Music Therapy is that the therapist looks at ways to involve each individual into the music making process and therefore increasing neural synapses throughout the brain. For more specific information about Neurologic Music Therapy check this website.

 
Music Therapy Supports classroom curriculum and IEP Goals¯ Supports educational curriculum Music   therapists are trained to learn a wide variety of music and use that knowledge to provide specific songs, dances and improvisational experiences that support thematic material and classroom curriculum. 
¯ Addresses IEP goals – Music therapy can address IEP goals in the group or individual setting and can be documented as a supportive service on the IEP.  Music Therapists use differentiated instruction techniques and a multi-sensory approach to address multiple goal areas in each music therapy session.
¯ Music Therapy as a Marketing Tool-Music therapy has been receiving a lot of media attention and parents are more aware of the benefits of music therapy as they are shopping for appropriate education placement. An article published in the Huffington Post in 2012 summarized research about music therapy with the ASD population and stated that music therapy was effective where other therapies were not and stated “So, the more music therapy the better for those with ASD!” Read that article here.
 
Schedule your consultation today!
Call Alison Bowers, MM, MT-BC
480-296-9842

 

Share Button

Music Therapy Saves Money On Health Care Costs

So you just read the headline and clicked on this blog post, all the while you may be thinking to yourself, “Oh come on, how can a service that I have to pay for out of my already stretched thin budget really save my facility money?”

First of all let me say that YES, You will have to pay for music therapy services, BUT keep on reading and I will elaborate on how it will save you money.

Evidence-Based Research with Proven Results –Music therapy is a scientifically based practice. Music therapist’s set goals for each individual or group and we document progress toward those goals. We conduct research and publish the results in our professional journals and those of related disciplines.So if you are the director of a nursing home or rehabilitation facility, these are outcomes that are experienced by a large majority of clients – even those individuals that don’t respond well to other types of interventions.

Decreases anxiety and stress¯¯ Reduces anxiety and stress – Music therapists address these goals in the group setting by using calming music and teaching clients breathing and imagery techniques that they can use outside of the music therapy session.Dancing encourages physical movement and releases endorphins while at the same time reducing cortisol levels and is a positive wellness technique.

¯¯ Improves mood and emotional states – Patients are encouraged to express their emotions through music in the group or individual session. We use techniques such as lyric analysis, group songwriting and improvisation to help the client identify their feeling and the reasons behind them and then provide opportunities to express those feelings through the music.

¯¯ Increases patient participation in treatment Music is fun and motivating but many individuals may feel self-conscious about participating. Music therapists have specific training to help patients to feel comfortable and to participate at whatever level they are able. By explaining to patients what we are doing and why it is important, we enable the patient to then have some ownership over their treatment program, which carries over to other treatment modalities.

¯¯ Reduces need for pain medication –The American Psychological Association published a summary of research about music therapy and stated that the researchers found that patients that engaged in music therapy had increased levels of the antibody Immunoglobulin A, which is known to kill cancer cells. They also found reduced levels of cortisol, the stress hormone and increased endorphin levels. Other studies cited that music therapy helped regulate breathing and heart rate for patients from infants in the NICU to adults and elderly in intensive care, cancer treatments and rehabilitation. Patients reported less pain and also had reduced need for pain medication. Read the full article here .

¯Reduces length of Stay-The National Institute of Health (NIH) published a study in 2011 that determined that patients who participated in music therapy had less depression and shorter

Music Therapy is an excellent marketing tool.

Music Therapy is an excellent marketing tool.

lengths of stay than patients that did not receive this service. Read that article here. In addition, a review of music therapy in the Southern Medical Journal was published in 2012 which stated that Patients in intensive care were less anxious before surgical procedures and recovered more quickly and satisfactorily after surgery. They also required less sedation and reported better satisfaction with their hospitalization click here to read that article.

¯Music Therapy as a Marketing Tool-Music therapy has been receiving a lot of media attention and patients are more aware of the benefits of music therapy as they are shopping for services. In 2002 Demmer and Sauer published documentation that supported the fact that patients had higher satisfaction levels for facilities that offered music therapy services. Read an excerpt of “Survey of Nurses’ Attitudes and Perceptions Toward Music Therapy in the Hospital Setting” By Miriam G. Hillmer, 2003

2013 logo (219x106)Call Alison Bowers, MM, MT-BC, at 480-296-9842 to schedule your consultation today!

Share Button