Having Fun with Special Needs Music Therapy in NYC
Looking for ways to help your child with special needs accomplish their speech and language goals? Why not try music therapy? “Music Therapy is the clinical and evidenced-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program,” according to the American Music Therapy Association. Music therapy can effect changes in a child’s behavior and facilitate development in communication, social/emotional, sensory-motor, and/or cognitive skills. We got out to have some fun with special needs music therapy in NYC!
Some neighborhoods in NYC offer drop-in sing-alongs at local cafes/bookstores—however these tend to be aimed towards younger children (6 to 48 months) and can feel overcrowded at times. This can especially be a challenge for some children with special needs, so rounded up several places that offer music classes for all ages and have programs for children with special needs.
3 Great Organizations for Music Therapy in NYC
The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music provide early intervention music classes with parental instruction on how to use music at home. Therapeutic music lessons and on-site music therapy is also offered for both children and adults. They are located in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Music activates, inspires, and stimulates emotional expression. Music relaxes, calms the nervous system and is helpful in restoring internal balance. Music connects us to ourselves and to others. Music is life affirming.
Piano Plus provides adapted instrument instruction in piano and guitar lessons to individuals with special needs. They also offer music therapy in NYC to individuals with special needs, both children and adults. They are located in the Upper East Side in Manhattan.
Daniel’s Music Foundation (DMF) is a non-profit organization that offers both free and fee-based programs for individuals with special needs. Their individual and group programs are led by music therapists, special education teachers, and musicians. DMF is located in East Harlem, Manhattan.
Some alternatives for marching to the beat of a different drum
If playing an instrument isn’t your kid’s thing, the rhythm of dance is worth a try. Dancing classes can help improve motor/social skills and build confidence. The Special Kids Dance program offer small classes for children with special needs between the ages 4 and up at the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG). Depending on which age group your child falls under, they will learn various dance/movement techniques and learn to express themselves through dance. Members of Extreme Kids and Crew receive a 15% discount upon registration. MMDG is located in Fort Greene.
And once your student has honed their rhythm-skills, check out Ready Set Play! (RSP!) playgroups. They specialize in enhancing social skills of children of all abilities by providing services such as integrated playgroups for ages 2-5 and social skills playgroups for children ages 2-9. They also offer “Hang Out” club for older children, ages 9-12. RSP! is located in the Financial District in Manhattan.
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