Federation for Children with Special Needs Convention

A resource for children with special needs and their families

The Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN), located in Boston with a satellite office Federation for Children with Special Needsin Western Massachusetts, is recognized state and nationwide as a leader in child advocacy, especially for those children with special needs. Committed to listening to and learning from families, FCSN provides information, support and assistance to parents, their professional partners, and their communities.

Working in the areas of children’s health, parental involvement, early intervention, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and Elementary and Secondary Education, the Federation oversees over 15 programs statewide related to supporting families whose children have either special education or healthcare needs. These supports can include training, workshops on Individual Education Plan (IEP) development, assisting a child as he/she phases out of the school system, finding support groups, promoting family involvement in school, advocating for a child’s inclusion in a school setting and so much more. An invaluable source for families, the Federation also works to reach out to financially and culturally diverse families who are also in need of support and services.

Visions of Community

On March 4th, Roman Music Therapy Services will again be participating in the Federation’s annual conference, entitled Visions of Community for 2017. An excellent resource for families of children with special needs and the professionals who serve them, people come from all over the state to convene at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston for a day of information gathering, sharing and work-shopping. Topics of discussion are to include Demystifying Dyslexia: Essential Information about Assessment, Intervention and Support at Home, Physical & Communication Access: Isn’t that the Law?, and Finding and Establishing an Independent Living Facility for your Child, to name only a few.

Keynotes will be delivered by Dr Paula Kluth, author, advocate and scholar working with teachers and families to provide inclusive opportunities for students with disabilities, as well as creating a more responsive and engaging school experience for all learners; and Brennan Srisirikul, singer and actor diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at birth.

As music therapists who have worked with children of all abilities, including those with special needs, our staff will be on hand at the conference to speak to parents, professionals and government agencies about the application of music therapy in conjunction with other services.

Stop by our table for more
information, or if you cannot make the conference but have questions about the whether music therapy is right for your child, contact our office!

Music Therapy in Special Education

See music therapy in the schools in action!

We are often asked about how music therapy in the schools works. Under IDEA, music therapy can be included in special education through various types of delivery including programmatic services, individual or group direct services, and consultation.

In this video blog, our Board Certified Music Therapist, Kristina Rio sat down with special education teacher, Bonnie Albanese, to discuss how music therapy has impacted her students and paraprofessionals. Her students have had music therapy in the classroom since September of 2013 as a programmatic service, with sessions focusing on shared goals. They are currently working with another music therapist on our team, Mary Kerrigan, and you will get to see her making music with the students.

A very special thank you to the Lynnfield Public School administrators, teachers, students and parents for their help in creating this video!

Learn more about group music therapy for organizations, including schools, or send us an email to find out how we can serve your program.

A special thank to Alisa Carbone who produced this video.

5 Reasons Music Therapy is Great With Autism

1. Music therapy is an individualized form of therapy that uses the strengths and abilities of a person to accomplish personal goals and meet personal needs.

2. Music therapy is flexible and able to work across multiple goal areas at once! Music therapy is able to address, communication, social, cognitive, emotional, motor/physical, and independent goals. Some parents have referred to music therapy as “one stop shopping!”

3. Music therapy can be both motivating and a positive reinforcer.

4. Music therapy is able to provide a personal experience for individuals and group members alike, incorporating preferred music into sessions, creating a deeper connection to the experiences.

5. Music therapy is Fun! Music therapy is individual in its approach, in that it allows a person to work in a way that is both self-expressive and goal oriented., making it seem like no work at all!

Music Connects

Channing Shippen MT-BC


Reschke-Hernandez, A. E. (2011). History of music therapy treatment interventions for children with autism. Journal of Music Therapy48(2), 169-207.

Allgood, N. (2005). Parents’ perceptions of family-based group music therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders. Music Therapy Perspectives, 23(2), 92-99.

One on One: A Music Therapy Duet

Is Individual Music Therapy right for you?

By: Meredith Roman Pizzi, MT-BC
Here’s a fireside chat with Meredith about individual music therapy sessions.

1.   What does individual music therapy look like?

Individual therapyMeredith: In a typical individual music therapy session, the music therapist and client will engage in a variety of musical experiences including:

    • singing
    • playing instruments
    • songwriting
    • song recording
    • lyric analysis
    • active music listening
    • movement to music

Individual music therapy is truly individualized! The client’s needs and goals are addressed directly in the musical interactions and active  participation in music.

2.   Do participants reach their goals faster in private sessions?

Meredith: Because individual music therapy sessions are designed to focus directly on the client’s needs and goals, participants do reach individual goals faster in private sessions.  In group music therapy settings in school or afterschool programs, the primary goals are always related to the group. Individual participants do make definite progress towards their individual goals, however, they are not the focus of the entire group session.

On the other hand, in an individual session, the individual’s needs always come first. The music therapist is able to respond to whatever the client needs in the moment and although music therapy is still a process and takes time, consistency and engagement, individual progress is often seen more quickly in private music therapy sessions.

3.   What can be accomplished in a 1:1 session?

Individual therapyMeredith: One on One music therapy sessions are a great way to target and increase skills in the following areas:

    • expressive and receptive communication/language
    • motor development
    • self-awareness and awareness of others
    • academic and cognitive areas
    • sensory regulation
    • behavior

4.  When is 1:1 music therapy NOT the right choice?

Meredith: If the goals you are looking to address in music therapy are based on social skills and functioning within a larger environment, then individual music therapy is not the best choice.  Skills like waiting and turn taking, asking and answering questions, increasing joint attention to group activities, and understanding socially appropriate behaviors are best addressed in a music therapy group format.

What are your questions about music therapy? If you have any other questions you would like to see answered about music therapy, please email me and I will answer them in a future newsletter.