The Power of Kindermusik for Children with Special Needs

One of the many strengths of Kindermusik is its focus on the different developmental needs of each stage of childhood.  Each class level is designed to give every child the most appropriate and stimulating environment to nurture their developmental needs.  In fact, it is Kindermusik's musical and developmental basis that makes this program such a natural and effective way to augment occupational, physical or speech therapy.

Every child has their own developmental pattern of growth, and the special needs child is no exception.  Instead of rushing ahead, Kindermusik celebrates and explores each stage, fostering the joy and creativity in each individual child and respecting their unique pattern and pace of growth.  As a result, Kindermusik classes provide a unique place where the child with special needs can actively participate with peers of all abilities without pressure to perform in any way.

Dr. Melissa Johnson, a pediatric psychologist and advisor to Kindermusik International, says that Kindermusik can be an effective part of the educational and therapeutic plan for young children with developmental challenges.  She points out three reasons she sees Kindermusik as a wonderful resource for children with any variety of special needs.

1.  IT FACILITATES INCLUSION

Beyond just mainstreaming children, Kindermusik offers them full involvement in community activities, while giving them the support necessary to succeed.  For example, children with motor disabilities such as cerebral palsy or spinal bifida may not be able to participate in children's activities that focus on developing excellence in motors skills.  But Kindermusik activities are accessible or readily adaptable to these children's capabilities. 

2.  IT IS BASED ON A MULTIMODAL, MULTISENSORY DESIGN

Kindermusik curricula are enriched with stories, pictures, creative movement and a wide variety of interesting objects as part of activities that pull children into the interaction no matter what their preferred learning style and mode might be.

3.  IT NURTURES THE INDIVIDUAL CHILD'S EMOTIONAL AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

The emphasis on the joy and pleasure of music, on the sharing of this joy with one's caregiver and peers and the support of the child's self esteem make it particularly appropriate for children and familieis who face psycholsocial stresses and difficulties. 

"There are no winners or losers in Kindermusik class - the only competiton is with one's self, which is a crucial part of educating children with special needs.  Kindermusik incorporates not only the joy of music, but also movement, touch, listening, and socialization that are so important for children with varying abilities"

Stuart J. Schleien, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Greensboro

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