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Music as a Global Resource: - International Council for Caring ...

Music as a Global Resource: - International Council for Caring ...

SECTION:

SECTION: Music for Mental and Physical Health COUNTRY: United States of America PROJECT: PROVIDING COMMUNITY-BASED MUSIC AND CREATIVE ARTS THERAPY SERVICES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN AND ADULTS: ARTS FOR HEALING DESCRIPTION: Founded in 2000, Arts For Healing is a unique, nurturing community-based center that enables individuals with learning and developmental disabilities to improve the quality of their lives through music and creative arts therapy. A not-for-profit organization in New Canaan, Connecticut, Arts For Healing, serves special needs children, adolescents and adults, and their families, in Fairfield and Westchester Counties. Using interactive and enriching artistic experiences, Arts For Healing seeks to enhance clients‟ communication skills, attention span, fine and gross motor skills, social skills, and language development. Arts For Healing aims to break through barriers that isolate clients and create a channel for selfexpression. To achieve this mission, therapists in the center utilize a systematic Integrated Music and Arts Therapy (IMAT) approach, developed by the Founder, in which modalities such as music, art, drama and poetry are used interchangeably or separately, depending on the needs of the clients. In music therapy sessions, clinical improvisation is used as a vehicle for songwriting, learning an instrument, letter and number recognition, working out conflicts through musical expression and storytelling through words and pictures. The inherent power of music within the creative process becomes both the symbol of expression and the means for growth. Arts For Healing also promotes clients‟ identity development. The continuous act of creating something new through music and the creative arts enables individuals at any age to constantly re-examine themselves and the reality they inhabit at that particular time. This new self-concept and understanding is the key to a positive relationship between the student‟s internal and external worlds. As students progress, their renewed awareness and self-confidence is carried with them into their family relationships, school settings, and community. Arts For Healing Program Features: Music, art and expressive therapy for individuals and groups TheaterWorks on Grove – weekly workshops that foster socialization and self- expression through interactive musical and dramatic play experiences in small group settings Custom designed music instruction for individuals and groups, particularly students on the autism spectrum and with severe learning disabilities Socialization playgroups – group sessions that promote socialization and play for young children with developmental disabilities and those on the autism spectrum Community outreach including Elementary, Middle and High School programs, services for Child Guidance Centers, Pre-K developmental nursery schools, parent programs, parent-child programs, an ongoing music therapy program at elderly care centers, and a new program at a local pediatric hospital CURRENT STATUS: Arts For Healing is funded through a combination of grants, foundations, individual donors, corporate sponsors and client revenue. 102

RESEARCH AND EVALUATION: Arts For Healing utilizes informal evaluation procedures to assess its programs, including integrated feedback from parents, teachers and staff. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: www.artsforhealing.org Publications: Nisenson, K. (2008). The importance of integrated music and art in therapy and special education. Exceptional Parent Magazine, 38(3), 42-44. Nisenson, K. (2011). Developing self expression and targeting sensory motor issues through adaptive piano instruction. The Motor Story. Retrieved from http://www.themotorstory.com/The_Motor_Story/Karen_Nisenson.html Leontiou, J.F. (2010). Living with CP: Why do we have to be anything but beautiful? Cerebral Palsy Magazine, volume (issue number). Retrieved from www.cerebralpalsymagazine.com CONTACT INFORMATION: Organization: Arts For Healing Address: 24 Grove St., New Canaan, CT 06840 Phone: 203-972-2982 Contact Person: Karen Nisenson, MT-BC, Founder/Clinical Director Email: knisenson@artsforhealing.org 103

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