Written by Amy Kerrigan
The Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities (SCBDD) Early Intervention program teamed up with Blooming Bridge Music Therapy to expand services offered to Shelby County families. Families enrolled in the Early Intervention program were invited to attend group music therapy sessions alongside peers and SCBDD therapists.
SCBDD Early Intervention already employs certified therapists to aid the growth of area children who are not meeting developmental milestones. The staff includes physical, speech, and occupational therapists and developmental specialists. By partnering with Alexa Kemmann, owner/director of Blooming Bridge Music Therapy, SCBDD can offer Early Intervention families expertise on the benefits of music and examples of how to use it in daily routines.
What are the Benefits of Music Therapy?
According to both the Early Intervention staff and Alexa Kemmann, music has many benefits for the quickly developing brains of children ages 0-3 years old. Music activates multiple parts of the brain which stimulate language skills, sensory regulation and attention. Music encourages dancing and imitation which help fine motor skills and coordination. Best of all, music therapy sessions encourage children and caregivers to bond. It also gives caregivers a chance to connect with each other.
How Can Families Use Music in Daily Routines?
Every family can add music to their daily routines. Early Intervention director, Nancy Stiefel says, “Sing during transitions as you move from one activity to another. Sing in the car; sing during diaper changes; sing a clean-up song to get kids to help clean up.”
Alexa suggests, “You can create a ‘parody’ or ‘piggyback’ of a familiar song like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by changing the lyrics or make up an original melody or chant. These songs don’t have to rhyme, and you don’t have to be a musician to make them effective!”
SCBDD and Blooming Bridge also recommend using songs that incorporate games and movement. Nursery rhyme songs like Pat-A-Cake and Itsy Bitsy Spider or adding rhythm to a game of Peek-A-Boo can be very engaging for infants and toddlers.
Information on Blooming Bridge Music Therapy classes and group sessions can be found on their Facebook page (@BloomingBridge). Alexa also offers private music instruction and adapted music instruction for individuals with special learning needs.
SCBDD Early Intervention is a program for infants and toddlers (ages 0-3 years) who are not meeting developmental milestones or have a developmental disability. Anyone can make a referral for evaluation from Early Intervention to see if a child is eligible for services. Evaluations are free, and services are free to those who qualify. Contact the county board at 937-497-8155 or visit shelbydd.org if you have questions