Music and Developmental Disabilities

Music and Developmental Disabilities

Michelle Renee Blumstein (Marymount Manhattan College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0034-6.ch105


The following chapter presents a compilation of research about various types of technology that are employed by music therapists to benefit children with developmental delays. Music therapy can be an effective way to meet the goals of the individual. Music can also be a very powerful motivator. Previous musical skill or experience is not required for music therapy to be effective for clients with developmental disabilities or for clients more generally. Many music-based technologies are designed to create a positive, successful, and enjoyable experience for all users. Music therapy can provide a safe and confidence building environment where children are able to feel in control of a situation, possibly for the first time in their lives.
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Music therapy provides a unique opportunity, which is not necessarily present in all forms of therapy. Thanks to a wide variety of music based technologies employed during a music therapy session, the child is not only able to work on improving important skills that will benefit him/her in life, but the child is also able to participate in activities that provide happiness and enjoyment. Many children, especially those with more severe physical impairments often rely on others to perform a majority of their daily routines. During music therapy sessions, the child is in control and is able to create and accomplish tasks for him or herself; this may be the first time an opportunity of this sort has arisen. The following chapter provides a brief background on music therapy: what it is, how it is done, why it works, how its effectiveness has been tested, as well as an explanation of a wide variety of contemporary technologies that are being used to benefit children with developmental delays.

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