MUSIC THERAPY AT AFFORD
We have recently expanded our music therapy program at AFFORD to a number of new sites including; Windsor, Llandilo, Blacktown, Campbelltown, Kings Park and Bexley. We now have five music therapists delivering individual and group sessions weekly.
During his first music therapy session, Scott, whilst appearing content in the session, did not speak to the therapist and refused to engage with any instruments. During the second session, the therapist noticed Scott seemed to be fascinated with the guitar and she asked him if he would like to play. He picked up the guitar, strummed away for some time and in an extended improvisation Scott came alive, playing very passionately and then began singing; in Spanish. After the session he opened up about his Spanish heritage, his love of Spanish music and how his dad used to play guitar. From that day forward Scott plays guitar in the group sessions and everyone is impressed with his singing. Through music, Scott has gained a strong role and increased confidence within the group and reports that he very much looks forward to music therapy.
Joe initially came into the session unsettled. He would often express frustrations. Early on in his program Joe came into the room and picked up the guitar and started to sort through the playlist. Joe was known to be a little behavioural and withdrawn in particular when the iPad was taken away. Joe was quite fixated with the iPad and this often prohibited interactions in the group. However Joe showed a strong and keen interest in music making, in particular singing. In music Joe made choices, sung and contributed verbally. On occasions Joe would need guidance to slow down his speed and bring down his screaming singing. However, due to individual sessions Joe often left the session more settled and bright and joined in on the group session later in the morning.
Individual music therapy sessions have exposed Joe to a variety of instruments and musical activities that have allowed and prompted the expansion of speech and social engagement while also increasing his confidence to engage with other clients. Individual music therapy sessions have afforded Joe the opportunity to communicate and make decisions. It is common now for Joe to take it upon himself to choose songs, contribute vocally and be active in group music making.