Currently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Music Therapy Program is 100% online. Semiahmoo House offers 5 one hour long group sessions online, one each day from Monday – Friday.
The online music therapy group sessions are offered through Semiahmoo House Society’s new online campus. The music therapy group can be accessed by anyone who is receiving services from SHS. This has created a more varied group, in terms of age, location and program and allowed for extra participants averaging approximately 23 participants each day of the group session.
Over 100 clients are served each week as a result of Music Heals funding.
Clients’ diagnoses vary greatly but may include: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Global Developmental Delay, Acquired Brain Injury, some very rare genetic disorders, dementia, and duel diagnoses as well.
From Music Therapist Katherine:
“The goals of our Music Therapy sessions have greatly shifted to be much more mental health focused since moving to an online platform during the pandemic. Currently the focus of our sessions is to reduce anxiety, lower stress, increase positive thinking, provide an emotional outlet, facilitate connection with others and provide a chance to participate in something that brings JOY!
As music therapists we have had to adapt quite a lot to the online platform and think: how can we include everyone equally when video conferencing software is primarily designed for people who are verbal? How can it be a level playing field if some participants have instruments and others don’t? How can people who rely on communication devices use those tools if we aren’t in the same room?
Luckily, we as music therapists and SHS as a whole have always been client-centered and strengths based. This philosophy has allowed us to continue to include everyone equally and give everyone a chance to shine in their own way. For our clients, feeling SEEN has and always will be important.
As always, music is an all-inclusive tool that regardless of age or ability, everyone can participate in and benefit from.”
Navigating The Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic
As stated above, the music therapy program has moved completely online. This has not changed since April of 2020.
Your support in 2022 allows Semiahmoo House to continue providing 5 hour-long group music therapy sessions per week. Daily music therapy programming has become an important part of participants’ routines, with some participants attending the groups almost every day!
The music therapy classes have been the most well attended classes out of all of the Semiahmoo House Society’s online campus that were developed in response to COVID-19. The online campus has remained a popular option even now that Semiahmoo House Society has resumed some in person services. “Pods” of people sign in together from their in-person class group, or people from different pods who are all physically at Semiahmoo House but must be socially distant still. It has become a great way for the different pods to connect, and also for people who remain at home.
“We have one participant, Riley, who absolutely LOVES music and it brings him so much joy. Riley participated in one on one sessions funded by Music Heals prior to the pandemic, however I wondered if the online sessions would be able to engage him in the same way. Riley absolutely SHINES in the online sessions, whether answering questions through gestures, soloing on his electronic keyboard, or, his absolute favourite, dancing to The Chicken Dance! Riley’s energy is contagious and other participants actually request The Chicken Dance just to make Riley happy! It’s so great to see the participants support each other in this way, and you can’t help but smile when you see Riley flapping his “wings”!”