Friday, June 18, 2010

It's time for music...

We have been trying for a long time to get Music Therapy added to Max's weekly therapies. It is offered as a special service for the Medicaid waiver he is on, but because music therapists are certified at a national level, and don't have state licenses, Medicaid won't pay for them.

But, I knew Max would love music therapy, so I got one to come over any way. It may just be one of those things we have to find alternative funding for.

When she got here, Max was eating and listening to his opera music. I put it on for him to sing along to while he was eating. She and I talked about his likes and dislikes. His abilities and what he struggles with. Then she went out to get her instruments.

I sat Max on my lap on the floor, and she started with a "hello" song on the guitar. At first he stopped his constant moving and turned his head to listen, while looking out the window. But when she started singing "'s time for music!", he signed MORE! and looked right at her and the guitar. So she sang it again, and said, "Max, you can sing too!", and he did.

"hello..."ooooooh"...hello..."oooooooooh"...hello "ooooh-oooooooh"'s time for "you sing it Max"... "ooooooo-iiiiiiiiiii - oooo-iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii". "

Then she continued strumming on the guitar, and took his hand to have him strum. He opened his fingers and stretched them out to play, as she sang again. And he strummed and sang with her.

Next it was time to play the drum. BOOM BOOM BOOM!!!!! He LOVED how loud it was! Steve, unfortunately, wasn't prepared for a rain dance when he was on a conference call...oops. But Max had a blast hitting the drum with the mallets and boom-whackers. We would finish and he would drop the mallet and sign MORE!!!

We played the guitar one more time, and she made sure it was resting on his feet. At one point he edged his feet up onto the hole int he guitar, and wrapped his monkey toes over the edge. It was like he was trying to get inside of it. He was so calm, and continued singing along with her, only this time it was "good-bye to music", and he strummed with his toes.

After music, I put him back in his chair, and told her we would work on the funding portion, because he obviously loved it! She leaned down to say good-bye to him, and told him she would see him again soon...and then he broke our hearts and puckered his lip out and started crying and started signing more, more, more! He didn't want it to be good-bye to music at all!

I have NEVER seen him cry at the end of therapy, because he wanted more! It's usually quite the opposite, crying, pretending he's sleeping, telling his therapists he's "all-done" before they even start. But he wanted more more more. And he was doing more with his hands and calming his body more than I had ever seen in any other therapy. It was unreal!

So, we'll work on getting it funded, or we'll find a way to pay for it ourselves. I truly think this is going to be a huge part of his progress. And who doesn't need a little live music in their house at least once a week?!


Noel said...

I am a music therapist and happen to come across your blog, which is wonderful by the way!

Just in case, I wanted to share with you some ideas for getting Max music therapy services.

I know it is a difficult battle, but you seem to be a wonderful advocate for Max! If you "fight" for services for him long enough they might come to fruition!

Music therapy IS a related service. The language in the IDEA is not all inclusive and schools dismiss that sometimes. If max is in school you can request to have music therapy included in his IEP. This may be frowned upon at first if the administration is ignorant to music therapy's power to contribute to IEP goals. But hang in there and bring them documentation about using music therapy as a related service. A music therapist must conduct an assessment with Max and deem it a necessary component to his education. It seems like music therapy may be a great bridge for Max! That is one option.

The second option is to find a Neurologic Music Therapist(NMT) in your area. Sometimes you can use third parties for reimbursement, as they specifically work on functional goals and use medical codes to apply for reimbursement.

Please feel free to contact me at if you have any other questions.

I hope this helps in your journey!

Deana said...


Thank you so much for visiting Max's blog, and for your input. I have made notes, and will be talking about it at his IEP.