Music therapy for disabled children, parents

Sydney: Disabled children and their parents are likely to benefit from music therapy sessions, which can improve social, motor and communication skills.

Kate Williams of Queensland University of Technology (QUT) studied the effect of the Sing & Grow music therapy intervention on children with disabilities.

She found that music therapy also provided benefits for parent-child bonding and for parental mental health, according to a Queensland statement.

"Music therapists provide a range of services to children with and without disabilities and their parents in a wide range of settings, which is likely to be similarly beneficial," said Williams.

"We found the effects of music therapy were all very positive for children with disabilities, and for me, the most interesting part was the effect that it had on parents` mental health," she said.

"We were surprised and pleased that it happened because it shows that music therapy can be a shared positive experience for both parent and child."

Sessions generally consisted of a greeting song, "action" songs, and then use of various instruments, dancing, drumming and winding down.

"There is a lot of research showing that music is very motivating to children, and it is very rare to find a child whose attention is not captured by music," said Williams.

"Music and the brain work well together, and stimulating rhythmic areas of the brain can stimulate motor responses and reflexes; there are also links in the brain between music and language. A lot of this research has been done with adults, but the same applies with children," she concluded.


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