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Reaching Beyond Pediatrics

            It has probably been awhile since you have read a blog post from a non-intern at Therabeat Inc. That is because we have been a little busy around here! Each of us at Therabeat Inc. has been working hard to turn our new clinic space into an environment where each child and parent who walks in will feel welcomed and loved. We are so blessed to have this new space, and if you haven’t checked it out yet, you definitely should! We had our ribbon cutting last Friday and it was such a wonderful day. Friends, family and members of our community came out to celebrate with us. We feel so blessed to work in such an inviting and beautiful place. 

 

            With our new clinic has come new opportunities, new experiences and new clientele. Ms. Chelsea Kinsler & I have especially enjoyed working with a group of 15-20 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities from the Marietta Enrichment Center. These friends join us for a music class in our group room each Monday and Thursday morning. We have been working with this group for about 4 months now, and Ms. Chelsea and I both agree that we have developed a special bond with these precious people, and their caregivers also.

 

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            We have had so much fun with this group. They cheer each other on so well, and I am convinced that if we were all encouraging and supportive like these friends, this world would be a much better place. One of the individuals did a special rap for the group one week while the rest cheered and hollered for him as if he had just performed at the Grammy’s. Another voluntarily got up out of his seat to assist another group member with the rhythm sticks while we were playing instruments and said to me, “I just need to help my friend.”  

 

            The sweetest moment happened this past week when I introduced a new instrument to the group-the ukulele. One of the precious men in the group said it reminded him of a song that was played at his father’s graveside-it was one of his father’s favorite songs. He told me a little bit about the song but couldn’t remember the name of it. I quickly searched it on the internet & figured it out! He wanted me to play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” the version by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. As soon as I began playing & singing the song, my sweet friend began to cry & tell us how wonderful his father was. At first, I was worried that I had used poor judgment by playing this song & bringing up negative emotions, but then I asked him if he wanted me to stop and he said “No, I love it.” with tears falling down his face. I kept singing along as we gathered around this sweet man & allowed him to cope and find peace in the midst of his grief. I can’t even explain how special this moment was. 

 

            This is what music does. It connects us. It allows us to share in the celebrations & hardships in life. It brings us together in good & bad times. I am so thankful for the gift of music. I am also thankful that because of our new facility at 9880 Hickory Flat Highway, Woodstock GA 30075, we are able to reach beyond just the pediatric population and also bring in adults who are just as much in need.

 

-Hayley Echols, LPMT, MT-BC

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Music Therapy with Children with Hearing Impairments

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For our friends with hearing loss (mild-severe) there is often a misconception about their ability to experience music and to become musicians. Music Therapy is an effective mode of therapy for children with varying degrees of hearing impairments--especially in the areas of speech & language development, cognitive development, social/emotional development, and listening skills. Team Therabeat had the opportunity to present to the Georgia Bell Event at Atlanta Speech School about this topic, so we would like to share a little bit about our presentation here as well!

 

 

Research shows that children with hearing impairments share or surpass children without hearing impairments in rhythmic competency (Gfeller, 2016). This is due to the way we “hear” music. In the absence of normal hearing, people may experience music through vibrotactile input via percussive instruments. Children may also rely on visual cueing via therapist/educator demonstrating rhythmic patterns. A therapist or music educator should always be aware of how each individually child experiences music. Each child with hearing impairments has varying degrees of ability to perceive pitches, varying ways of hearing music, and has varying degrees of perception of music. Hearing aids and cochlear implants are formatted for speech sounds, not musical pitches. Therefore, a music therapist should be aware of each child’s preference for timbres and choose instruments accordingly.

 

 

Once a therapist knows what kind of musical interventions will work best for the child (or group of children), the following are goal areas that are addressed. These goal areas are based on clinical practice, and peer-review/evidence-based research for music therapy with children with. pre- or per- lingual hearing loss.

 

 

 

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·      Language Development: increase of vocabulary, increase of spontaneous speech, increase of sophisticated language structures such as metaphors/figures of speech, and pragmatics

 

 

·      Speech Production: increase vocalizations, increase speech prosody,

·      Listening Skills: increase in sound detection, sound discrimination, sound comprehension, and sound identification

·      Social Development: improvement in turn-taking, increased self-expression, and working cooperatively with others

(Gfeller, 2016)

 

 

Music Therapists address the goals above through the following music interventions:

 

 

 

·      Lyric Analysis & Song Writing: music therapists engage individuals in discussion or rewriting of lyrics to address learning and comprehension of age appropriate vocabulary and syntax to facilitate language development

 

·      Movement to Music: rhythmic movement in a predictable tempo can reinforce language development by performing movement paired with action words.

·      Therapeutic Singing: singing at slow, sustained tempos to facilitate accurate phonation of sounds. Rhythmic repetitions of target sounds happen in controlled and predictable tempo.

·      Instrument Play: Listening skills may be improved by auditory training through the play of percussive instruments that create sounds that can be experienced through tactile vibrations, or through instruments that create different timbres.

·      Music Therapy Groups: creating music with others provides a structured and motivating space to learn how to attend with others, take turns, and work well with others to create an aesthetic that is pleasing to the group.

(Gfeller, 2016)

 

 

We are always honored and excited to share information about how beneficial music therapy is in our community! We were able to demonstrate first hand some interventions we might use in a  group with the children who attended the event. We enjoyed seeing seeing the concepts we discussed in action.

-Perry Wright, LPMT, MT-BC

 

 

 

Reference:

 

 

Gfeller, K.(2016). Music Therapy for Children and Adults who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. In The Oxford Handbook

 

of Music Therapy: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from

www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199639755.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199639755-e-31.
 

 

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Senior Adult Fair Extravaganza 

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Music therapy advocacy, in all forms, is such an important and efficient way to express the effectiveness of music therapy. For that reason, Therabeat, Inc. continues to support and advocate for music therapy in many wonderful ways, and for many wonderful populations.

 

This past weekend, Jennifer, our music therapy intern Alaina, and I were pleased to be one of many vendors for the Cherokee Triad S.A.L.T. Senior Adult Fair Extravaganza at the First Baptist Church Woodstock Conference Center. We had the pleasure of spreading the joy of music to a wide variety of listeners with our display of instruments, music therapy fact sheets, and smiling faces! We also enjoyed walking around and meeting all of the other vendors in attendance. It was a phenomenal teaching and learning experience for us, and we look forward to continuing our mission to advocate for music therapy throughout the community!

 

-Morgan Minyard, LPMT, MT-BC

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In the Community: Canton Optimist Club 

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                  The members of Therabeat, Inc. have been working hard to advocate for music therapy throughout the community. We were recently honored to be a part of a Canton Optimist Club meeting, where we had the opportunity to tell the members all about what we do. The Optimist Club is an incredible organization that serves the community in many ways. Adult volunteers join together with the slogan, “Bringing out the best in kids”. The Optimist club is dedicated to serving and empowering youth in any way possible. 

 

                  Team leader Jennifer Puckett and I were the guest speakers at one of the club’s weekly meetings. We opened our meeting with a “hello song”, giving the members a taste of what a typical music therapy session looks like. We then talked about what music therapy is, why it’s effective, and who we serve. The members were an extremely receptive audience and seemed eager to learn more. We were grateful for yet another great advocacy opportunity! 

 

-Alaina Brommer, Music Therapy Intern

 

 

 

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In the Community: Knox Elementary

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                  The members of Therabeat, Inc. were honored to be highlighted as “community helpers” at Knox Elementary School. Jennifer Puckett and I made our way to the school to speak to over 100 kindergartners about music therapy! We were thrilled to have the opportunity to advocate to such a young audience, since even many adults do not know what music therapy is. We explained the basics of music therapy to the students and showed them a video of our amazing kiddos making music at the clinic. After sharing our presentation, Jennifer and I conducted a sample music therapy session with the whole group of students. We did music and movement, instrument play, and sing alongs with body percussion among other interventions. The kids were such an eager audience, and we loved getting them engaged. What a unique advocacy opportunity, and what an honor it was for us to be recognized for the work we do in the community. 

 

-Alaina Brommer, Music Therapy Intern

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