Music therapy is an integral part of the program at Arbor School. We are blessed to be working with the staff at Joyful Music Therapy (http://www.joyfulmusictherapy.net). Currently our students receive Music Therapy two times a week for 30 minutes. Music Therapy consists of a combination of singing, dancing, drumming, and composing. Our program integrates the use of a curriculum that helps our students identify their feelings and emotions by what zone they are in: green, yellow, blue, or red. This ability has allowed our students to better self monitor themselves as well as self advocate. Our music therapist also works on a variety of vocal exercises and repeated phrases which help language develop.
For people on the autism spectrum and those with developmental disabilities, music provides a nonverbal, nonthreatening way of relating to others. The natural structure and consistency of music makes it extremely effective in the development and remediation of speech. Learning appropriate social behavior can be very challenging. Music Therapy and Socialization Classes provide a fun musical atmosphere for children to learn to relate to others and practice social skills through musical games, singing, and dancing.
Our students love the music classes and look forward to performing for their families in our recitals which are held twice each year. Performing before a crowd of people can often be scary even in the best of situations. At Arbor School, our students are encouraged and supported throughout all times during the programs, and it is wonderful to witness their pride when the applause sounds.
Our music therapist supports our other therapists. Speech and language often develop through the use of music. Our music and speech therapists collaborate often to determine the best course for our student’s language development. Our music therapist also uses sensory tools such as rhythm and dancing to improve brain function and body awareness.
Several of our students have gone on to piano lessons and glee clubs. These programs help too further enhance the socialization skills of our students as well as providing a possible profession. It is through the piano lessons of one of our students that we discovered his perfect pitch and ability to play by ear.