Special Needs, Developmental Disabilities and Music Therapy


Plato said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”  For many children and adults with special needs or developmental disabilities, music is their language!

In the video below, I talk about a few of the ways I use Music Therapy for developmental disabilities.

Music Therapy for Developmental Disabilities

Music can be especially helpful in so many ways for individuals with Developmental Disabilities:

  • Transitioning from one activity to the next…from one life situation to another
  • Increasing social skills and quality of life
  • Creating an ability to learn how to “take turns”

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) suggests a number of other benefits of Music Therapy for people with Developmental Disabilities:

  • Developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships…establishing/reestablishing interpersonal relationships
  • Increasing social interactions
  • Fulfilling basic needs
  • Developing a positive sense of self
  • Dispelling pathological behavior
  • Increasing social competency…the individual’s perceptions about social behavior
  • Developing an awareness, a sensitivity to the beauty of music and using it to enhance all of the above

There are so ways music therapy can improve life skills:

  • Increase sensory-motor skills
  • Improve expressive-receptive language skills
  • Increase cognitive skills
  • Increase problem solving skills
  • Improve social skills
  • Improve auditory and visual-motor skills
  • Increase impulse control
  • Increase the ability to identify and communicate feelings appropriately
  • Improve self-esteem and self-control

TIPS TO DO AT HOME!

  • Create a simple, predictable song for a daily skill (like brushing teeth). Young children love this type of activity (“Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Help Cleanup”), and adults can benefit as well.
  • Have them drum along with a tune you either sing or play (on a guitar, piano, recorder, etc.) l- ike The Lion Sleeps Tonight.
  • Work with them to create their own simple tune…perhaps on a xylophone.
  • Sing together a familiar song (like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or Michael Row the Boat Ashore).
  • Together, learn a new song…perhaps about American culture. My Home’s in Montana is a fun one about the American Old West!

Kim McMillin

RN, MA, MT-BC, RPT, LMHC, LMFT (CO)
Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Board Certified Music Therapist
I am passionate about helping others to find the goodness within them and to heal the barriers that prevent them from embracing the Light of Goodness inside. Each of us comes into this world as a magnificent Sun. What often trips us up is that we learn to identify with the clouds -- ugly things...

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1315 N. Napa
Spokane, WA 99202

Music therapy for autism and developmental disabilities serving the Spokane, WA area.
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Whether you are an advocate for someone with developmental disabilities, you are stuck in your life and need a new approach to personal growth, or you want to heal from health issues and enhance your well-being, the resources on this website can help.  Check out our videos, get our newsletter, and then call our office at 509-979-4357 to discuss your unique situation.
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"Kim combines her talents and years of experience with patience, empathy and cheerfulness. We highly recommend her as a therapist."
- Family with a Developmentally Disabled Son - Boulder, Colorado
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