Music Therapy and Developmental Disabilities

Music therapy interventions focus on enhancing social, communicative, motor/sensory, emotional, and academic/cognitive functioning, or music skills in individuals with Developmental Disabilities. Music therapy services are based on each client’s individual abilities, noting preferences, needs, the family’s values, beliefs, and priorities. Music therapists work in partnership with clients, families, and teams.

The music therapy assessment process is designed to gain an understanding of the individual’s current level of functioning while engaging in a variety of intentional and developmentally sound music experiences. The music therapy intervention plan is based on the assessment outcomes. It integrates a variety of evidence-based strategies and music therapy techniques (e.g., singing/ vocalization, instrument play, movement/ dance, musical improvisation, songwriting/ composition, listening to music). These strategies and techniques support clients in practicing identified and targeted skills and engage in successful expressive and connecting experiences. Music therapists document clients’ responses and conduct ongoing evaluation of progress towards the achievement of goals while making recommendations for generalization and future intervention options.

- American Music Therapy Association