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       Plano Independent School District

Music Therapy

Michelle Melander - Team Leader Bachelor of Science & Master of Arts 469-752-8718
Libby Choi Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Music 469-752-8772
Lisa Livingston Bachelor of Music & Master of Arts 469-752-8760

The need for the related service of music therapy is determined on an individual basis. The service is recommended to the A.R.D. committee only when the assessment shows that music therapy is educationally necessary; i.e., when it is required to assist a student with a disability to benefit from special education.

Who does the assessment?
The assessment must be done by a registered or board certified music therapist. One of the three P.I.S.D. music therapists will be the evaluator. The therapists serve a geographical cluster of schools (the east, central, or west), so usually the therapist who serves the student's neighborhood school or classroom will conduct the assessment.

Description of the assessment.
Typically, an assessment is conducted following a request from the A.R.D. committee. An assessment may also be part of the Full Individual Evaluation, which takes place upon initial referral to special education or as part of the student's triennial evaluation.

The assessment consists of several stages:
  1. The music therapist reviews the student's I.E.P (if the student is already receiving special education services) as well as assessments from other instructional and related services. The purpose of this review is to identify goals/objectives that can be addressed through music therapy strategies. The music therapist will also consider documentation from private therapy providers.
  2. The music therapist observes the student working on the identified goals/objectives in a non-musical setting. The observation session lasts approximately 30 minutes. After the observation, the music therapist designs a series of music therapy interventions that focus on these same IEP
  3. The music therapist facilitates one or two individual or group music therapy sessions with the student. He/she then compares the student's responsiveness to music therapy interventions to the student's responsiveness to non-musical interventions on the same goals/objectives. If it appears that the student is significantly more responsive to music therapy interventions than to non musical ones, then the therapist may conclude that music therapy services are necessary for the student to make progress on his/her instructional objectives.
  4. The musical therapist reports the results of the assessment and makes a recommendation to the A.R.D. committee. The A.R.D. committee will make the decision whether or not to establish music therapy as a related service.
  5. Once the A.R.D. committee establishes music therapy services, the music therapist reports to the committee on at least an annual basis regarding the student's progress.
What does music therapy look like in the classroom?
There are several ways that music therapy services are delivered to the student. In one, the music therapist may begin by providing direct instruction in order to develop the program and strategies and to demonstrate the music therapy session to the classroom teacher. Thereafter, the music therapist monitors the program and the classroom teacher implements music therapy strategies. The music therapist provides the teacher with materials and information, and updates the services as needed. When new music therapy interventions are added, the music therapist again demonstrates the procedures to the teacher. The music therapist may supplement demonstration of music therapy interventions with observations of the teacher as he/she uses music therapy interventions with the student. The music therapist is also responsible for regular re-evaluations, for determining goals and objectives, and for reporting at least annually to the A.R.D. committee. In another, music therapy services are provided exclusively by the music therapist. Again, the music therapist is responsible for regular re-evaluations, for determining goals and objectives, and for reporting at least annually to the A.R.D. committee.