Music Therapy as an Elective Service within Early Childhood Intervention / Early Childhood Special Education Teams
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The special education system within the United States has made much progress in the past 20 years. To date, a complete and functionally appropriate intervention is by law granted to those individuals with disabilities, birth to age 21. Music therapy services have been utilized as one of the related services for young children in special education (Sandall, McLean, & Smith, 2000). Music therapy services are often part of the multidisciplinary intervention approach. Within this approach, goals and procedures are determined with other professionals, such as classroom teachers, early intervention specialists, and adapted physical education instructors (Humpal, 1990, 2002). This form of therapy can address several goals associated with early childhood education such as building individualization within the group interaction, developing communication skills and social interaction skills, and supporting cognitive, emotional, and motor development (Standley & Hughes, 1996). Music therapy has emerged as an elective service within many intervention programs across the world. This essay addresses not only the special education I early intervention system in the U.S., but highlights music therapy as vehicle for developmental growth in children with disabilities. An overview of the therapy program is presented discussing many special considerations specific to children .with disabilities. Lastly, music therapy is presented within the framework of an interdisciplinary intervention program, which calls for collaboration and full disclosure between the involved specialists.
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