Adding Music Therapy to your Child’s IEP

Music therapy is becoming more and more important to the special needs community. It can help with memorization, speech, motor coordination, and with transitions from activity to activity. For students in school, music therapy can be added to improve and enhance their education. Adding music therapy to your child’s IEP is something to consider and can become possible depending on your child’s needs.

How do you add music therapy to your child’s IEP? First, as the parent, you will first have to request to the IEP committee that a music therapy assessment be conducted. The school district representative can also request one to be conducted for your child. Music therapy can be added as a relative service only if it is shown to be necessary for your child to benefit from their individual education. A board- certified music therapist would have to be the one to administer the music assessment. For more information on music therapy as a related service, visit the Prelude Music website here.

After the initial request, the IEP committee will have to determine rather or not a music evaluation is crucial or if music therapy isn’t a need. Observation will be key in determining how a student preforms in a non-musical setting and how they perform when music is used. This will give the committee a better idea of rather or not music therapy is needed. Does the child learn more quickly through musical activities? Do they remember song lyrics? Does the child’s speech improve during singing or musical activities? If music is shown to positively affect the child then it is appropriate to conduct a music therapy evaluation. To look at a list of more characteristics that can help determine if an evaluation is appropriate, check out this website here.

There are many different types of assessments/evaluations that can be used. Some include initial assessment, comprehensive assessment, and ongoing assessment. The initial assessment will include information about the student and develop goals. The comprehensive assessment will have the therapist examine the students functioning to determine if they will benefit from music therapy. Finally, the ongoing assessment is used even through the treatment process and helps create session plans. All assessments will basically hold the same information and determine if music therapy is necessary for your child. To thoroughly read through the descriptions of each assessment, click here.

The SEMTAP – Special Education Music Therapy Assessment Process- is one of the many different types of assessments/evaluations. This one is considered a comprehensive assessment and is nationally recognized. The SEMTAP is written and published by Prelude Music Therapy. This process has six elements that will be used to determine if music therapy can be a related service in the IEP.

It includes:

  1. A request for a music therapy assessment
  2. Reviewing your child’s IEP along with the goals and objectives
  3. Interviews with your child’s teachers and members of the IEP committee
  4. Observations of your child preforming IEP goals without the use of music
  5. Administrating and observing a specifically designed music therapy assessment session that focuses on the IEP goals
  6. Presentation of the reported findings at an IEP committee meeting with a music therapist

If it is agreed on that music therapy will be valuable for your child, it can be added to their IEP with goals and objectives. It is important to note that the parents will not be responsible to pay for this service.

Adding music therapy to your child’s IEP can enhance their individualized learning. As long as it is deemed necessary to benefit your child’s learning experience, music therapy can be added as a relative service in the IEP with no cost to the parents. Even through it can be a long process, an evaluation or assessment is used to determine the need. Music therapy could really benefit your child’s education and it is something to ask your IEP committee about.

If you have any questions regarding Cerebral Palsy or would like to learn more about music therapy and IEP’s, don’t hesitate to call us at (800) 692- 4453 or fill out our contact form on Facebook or our website.