Music Therapy refers to the clinical use of musical interventions to effect developmental, psychological, emotional, cognitive and physical growth, when utilized by a trained music therapist. Music Therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. The Music Therapists at RFTS are highly trained, certified and licensed. They have competency on multiple instruments and voice, and have extensive training in psychology as well as their special areas of practice.
Scientific studies report that most individuals with autism respond positively to music. People with autism often show a heightened interest and response to music, making it an excellent therapeutic tool for working with individuals with autism, at all ages. Research shows a relationship between rhythm and motor behavior, between memory for song and memory for academic material, and between singing and speech. Music promotes relatedness, relaxation, learning, and self-expression, all while providing success-oriented opportunities for achievement and mastery. The structure and sensory input inherent in music helps to establish response and role expectations, positive interactions, and organization. Music Therapy addresses multiple developmental issues simultaneously and creates relationship connections between those sharing in the musical experiences.
The Music Therapy program at Reach for the Stars Learning Center began along with the school's inception in 2005 and was developed by our current music therapist, Toby Williams. Music Therapy was included as a necessary and vital component to the program, based on the determination to give each student the maximum opportunity for growth. Every child at Reach for the Stars Learning Center receives music therapy, either individually, in their classroom group or both. The Music Therapists play live music with the children, while they encourage the children to explore instruments and their voices, learn rhythm, dynamics, tempo, sustain, and articulation, and build successful experiences and self-esteem. Music Therapy is also a medium though which students can find ways to feel and express their emotions in a positive way and to develop trust. Reach for the Stars stands apart in its commitment to providing students with a well-rounded experience, including Music Therapy.