Benefits of Music Therapy for

Children with Special Needs


Music Therapy - delivered by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program - can provide wide-ranging benefits for children with developmental, emotional, social, and physical delays and disorders. The Music Therapist (MT) works with the team of special education professionals to augment their services and make unique contributions to the classroom. Throughout every session the MT uses a wide array of clinical and evidence-based techniques, activities and interventions to help each child achieve their IEP goals and objectives. Crossing multiple areas of treatment effective in facilitating development across numerous areas of a child’s functioning, this creative art therapy uses each child’s favorite music to promote the most successful outcomes.


Here are some examples of goals/objectives for different needs and their applicable music therapy interventions:

• Repetitive behaviors – MT uses a piano to guide the child’s hand (hand-on-hand technique) while playing color-coded music that does not repeat successive tones (such as “London Bridge”)
• Unresponsive to commands or questions – MT uses sing-a-long songs to prompt responses, such as cueing “Hello” during a greeting song, or an emotion during a song about feelings
• Delayed speech & language development – MT uses sing/read to work on problem areas and metered pulse at child’s ability level for error-free learning. Particular songs aid in vowel production such as “AApples and BAAnAAnAAs” which becomes “EEples, IIples, OOples, and UUples”
• Lack of imaginative play – MT uses improvisation on piano or drums using specific techniques
• Indifferent to the feelings of others – MT uses songs with different tempos, dynamics and styles to draw out different feelings
• Echolalia – MT uses sing-a-long songs to encourage the flow of language

Developmental Delays
• Counting – MT sings song as child counts little plastic bears
• Colors – Child places bears (above) into corresponding color cups as MT sings
• Letter recognition – MT sings song as child searches for letters in a bucket, on a paper, in a book
• Object recognition – MT sings prompts while child names and matches 2-piece card puzzles
• Paying attention – MT creates drumming song, child repeats patterns back

Physical Delays
• Hand/Eye coordination – MT uses color coded music which child reads then finds the corresponding note on piano or bell and touches or rings
• Fine and gross motor skills – MT has child play piano, type on keyboard, strike drums, clap hands, stomp, march, wave as MT sings matching songs

ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder)
• Impulse control – MT has one mallet for both to use on percussion, child has to wait turn to use mallet
• Following rules – MT delays exercises or favorite activity until child shows “hand in lap” patience

Now enrolling for Spring 2018 session at

Old Meadow Therapeutic Center

Call (805) 381-2739 or click here.