The Music Therapy program at the Terrace CDC consists of group sessions and one to ones. A parent/caregiver is always in attendance at the session, and potentially other therapists as the Terrace CDC is a very collaborative centre. This past year Music Therapist Annette ran a group with the Infant Development Consultant to support children under the age of three who had visual impairments. After restrictions were put in place due to COVID-19, she began supporting a toddler group that had moved to an online platform.
The Terrace CDC provides supports to families with children from birth to age 5 (sometimes a bit later depending on the child). The children are referred because there is a delay in development (potentially pre diagnosis) or due to a diagnosis, premature birth or complications before/during birth. Music Therapy at TCDC supports children who have delays with speech, communication, physical development, behavioral concerns. Some examples include children who have autism or going through the diagnosis process, cerebral palsy, visual impairments, congenial heart defects, and Rett Syndrome.
How does Music Therapy uniquely address the needs of clients at Terrace CDC?
Music feels like a strand that weaves throughout the Terrace CDC. Children gravitate towards music, sometimes it may be the only way to obtain or sustain their attention. With sustained attention, interaction and communication becomes possible. This is an important first step for children who may have limited communication or considered pre verbal. Music is also very malleable; it can be changed and adapted in ways that are as unique as the children and families who experience it. With music’s flexibility and engagement level, the music therapist is able to create personalized music experiences that support each child’s specific needs.
How has COVID-19 impacted the program?
Sessions continued via telehealth however, the center decide to suspend services in the summer. With the uncertainty of future funding they wanted to extend services as long as possible in the fall. On a positive note, due to changes with COVID-19 Annette was able to provide support to an existing toddler group. Scheduling changes and the move to telehealth made it possible for her to support the group who was looking for assistance as they changed the group to an online platform.
Currently the program at the Terrace Child Development Centre provides 11 music therapy hours per week. There is an anticipation to add more children to the caseload in the fall. Your support will ensure the program in continuing to function until December 2021.
This funding will allow the music therapist to continue supporting her caseload and increase it throughout the year. With confirmed longevity of the program, she can increase her caseload with the assurance that families will get the support they need in an appropriate amount of time.
It is possible that the music therapy program will provide group sessions; however, this will be dependant upon COIVD-19 restrictions.
Change is hard and COVID-19 brought a lot of change very fast. Olivia (name changed for confidentiality) being a very social young lady was met with many changes including no longer going to daycare. Music therapy and speech therapy sessions also changed; moving from face to face to online. Fortunately Olivia loves music, and thankfully the bounds of distancing and telehealth did not keep Olivia from engaging with music. Music Heals funds made it possible for Olivia to continue collaborative weekly telehealth sessions. Her love of music supported focus and reengagement during these new very different therapy sessions. With support from the therapists and amazing work from her parents, Olivia increased her vocabulary and communication skills throughout telehealth sessions. When daycare opened up again, Olivia transferred her communication skills from the telehealth sessions into daycare.