Integrating Family-Based Music Therapy Sessions with Individuals Diagnosed with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: A Program Model

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Johnson, Heather
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
Parents who have a child with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities seek expert advice to aid in alleviating obstacles that their child faces. Often parents find themselves feeling isolated and inadequately prepared to integrate success into their child’s daily life within the community. Many parents do not participate in opportunities that could help them through the journey with their child because they have focused their attention and energy into what the child needs and many resources are predominantly focused on the child and not creating a support system for the parents and family members. There are currently no models in the United States on how personcentered, psychoeducational, family-based music therapy sessions can be implemented to support the family members of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This project was developed to provide music therapists who work with children with special needs, an integrative model that offers family supports through the use of person-centered, psychoeducational, and family-based music therapy sessions. This three-tiered program allows families to receive professional education to gain a better understanding of their loved one’s diagnosis and how to positively interact with them in their home.