If you have a child with special needs, you’re likely always looking for ways to help your child grow, learn, and become more independent. Along with fitness and nutrition, there are a variety of therapies to help your child live a more abundant life- one being music therapy. This week we had the privilege of interviewing the founder of Sound Starts Music therapy, Mary Altom. Her mission for Sound Starts is to “help children grow bright and strong through music.” Here is how it all started.
The Story Behind Sound Starts Music Therapy
Mary Altom, the founder of Sound Starts Music Therapy, always knew she wanted to use music to help people. After Graduating with a Music Therapy degree, she began to work in schools as a Music Therapist. Soon parents started asking her about doing one on one adaptive lessons, and in 2011 Sound Starts Music Therapy was born. As business grew, Mary says “it became evident that there was a bigger need than what I myself could fill”, so she decided to hire her first employee. Today, there are four certified music therapist serving over 100 families at Sound Starts Music Therapy. Located in Frisco Texas, Sound Starts is proud to work with people of all ages and abilities.
What Is Music therapy?
According to the Sound Starts website “Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.” Because each person is different, Sound Starts is dedicated to creating specific goals and treatment tailored to each individuals’ needs.
Each music therapist “provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients’ abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives.” Music therapy also allows expression through music for those who find it challenging to express themselves through speech.
How does Music therapy help the special needs population?
Mary says “We work towards developmental goals in communication skills, academic skills, and motor skills” using music and sound as a medium. “For example”, Mary explained, “if we’re working on fine motor isolation, we might be at the piano but our goal is not to play the most beautiful song in the world. [instead, our goal might be to] develop the strength in those fingers and the ability to do one at a time. It really just depends on the child’s needs”.
When it comes to academic learning they learn basic things “like the alphabet, days of the week, and the 50 states, [which are all] learned through song, even for us [the general population]. Music can really be a carrier of information. When speaking or talking doesn’t [register as well] in the brain, music can help them remember”.
Another one of the benefits of music therapy is that people are a lot more enthusiastic about learning in the context of music. They tend to see it as “fun” rather than work. Mary says “Music can be a great motivator. Some kids who may have behavior problems elsewhere are more likely to comply because it’s fun and exciting”.
Sound Starts Music Therapy plans on expanding.
Mary plans on adding more music therapists to the team and eventually expanding to more locations across North Texas. Her vision is to be able to help as many people as possible,” the growth is about helping more families access music therapy services. The more growth, the more families that can benefit from it. A lot of people just don’t know about it [music therapy], but they will!”
Whether your child is struggling with communication and fine motor skills, or they simply enjoy music and sound, music therapy is a great option to consider.
For more information, contact Sounds Starts Music therapy today!