Back to School and Music Therapy

Can you believe that summer is almost over? Here at Milestone Music Therapy we are gearing up for the new Fall schedule. Kids are going back to school and we are re-evaluating goals in alignment with that. In Oregon, children start back to school the week of Labor Day. Because my master’s degree is in special education,  I’m often asked if music therapy can be used in schools, as part of a child’s IEP, and toward academic goals. The answer to all of those is a resounding YES!!!

Music Therapy can be included in a child’s IEP (Individualized Education Program) in a couple of ways.

  1. Music therapy can be considered as a related service in the same way that physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and other direct services are considered. To be included as a related service, that treatment must be considered ‘necessary’ for the child to benefit from his/her special education. Necessity is determined through a music therapy eligibility assessment conducted by a board certified music therapist. Please note that while many children can benefit from music therapy, it is not necessary for every child to benefit from his/her special education. Much of this is determined by the IEP goals themselves and if music therapy would/could even target those goals. Related services can be delivered in either 1:1 or group format. If you are interested in having your child receive a music therapy eligibility assessment you can request that the school district contract with a board certified music therapist to conduct one. For supporting documentation prior to making this request, please contact us using the button above.
  2. Music therapy can be included in an IEP as a supplemental service. Supplemental services are those that are not necessary, but helpful in the special education of a child or group of children. Many districts will include music therapy to all children of a certain diagnosis, or class type, or other classification. Usually these services are delivered in group settings and the goals are group oriented such as social skills, and attention span while in a group. On occasion a school district or even an individual teacher will use discretionary funds for this purpose. Sometimes a music therapist is hired to provide adaptive music education classes, similarly to how adaptive physical education is sometimes included in IEPs.

Many academic goals can be addressed through the use of music therapy. Here are just a few quick examples:

  • Auditory Processing
  • Auditory Tracking
  • Attention Span
  • Reading Comprehension and Fluency
  • Sequencing
  • Color, Number, Shape Recognition
  • Handwriting
  • Gross Motor Coordination
  • Math Concepts
  • Visual Tracking
  • Sensory Integration
  • Phonics
  • Receptive & Expressive Communication
  • Following 1/2/3-step Directions
  • and more…

Milestone has a screening tool that can be helpful for parents and districts to determine if a music therapy eligibility assessment would be appropriate for a child. Contact us at the button above and we will send you a copy of the form.

I welcome your questions and comments below.

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