Different or disabled? Music therapy with a learning impaired child

Different or disabled? Music therapy with a learning impaired child

Abstract

The focus of this paper is to report on a six-month programme of Music Therapy with a child with a history of learning and social difficulties. Such children are commonly classified as Learning Disabled. Learning Disability is not without controversy over its definition and theories of aetiology and remediation. Music therapists have drawn on different theoretical models of learning disorders and have incorporated those treatment approaches into music therapy techniques. The creative improvisation method used here has not yet been widely reported, yet the author found it to be an effective way to address the child's attentional, cognitive and emotional difficulties. Improvements in academic performance may have derived from achievements in music, although further research would better substantiate such a link. It seemed likely however that a significant improvement in classroom participation resulted from failure anxiety being success-fully dealt with in therapy. Music offers a cogent means of addressing the interrelated dimensions of perception, cognition and self which are problematic for individuals with learning impairments.


Key words: Music therapy; children; learning disability; improvisation


Citation

Thompson, R. (1991) Different or disabled? Music therapy with a learning impaired child. Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 2, 25-33.


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Date published: June 1991