The power of music therapy for children with multiple disabilities

The Ferrer-Salat Music Foundation works closely with Nexe Fundació, the only specialised care centre in Catalonia for children under the age of six with multiple disabilities, integrating music therapy into their daily lives.

Since 2016, the Ferrer-Salat Music Foundation has been collaborating with Nexe Fundació, a benchmark organisation in Barcelona in the care of children with multiple disabilities, exploring the transformative power of music to contribute to improving the quality of life of these children and their families. The top priority of both foundations is for these children to enjoy their childhood as others do in nurseries throughout the territory.

Nexe Fundació, founded in Barcelona in 1991, offers comprehensive and interdisciplinary care to children with developmental disorders, as well as to their families, so that they can combine raising a child with a severe disability with their personal, working and family projects. They currently take care of 53 children from 0 to 6 years of age and attend 159 family members.

Thanks to the Ferrer-Salat Music Foundation’s support and patronage, music therapy has become yet another discipline within its transdisciplinary and early stimulation care project, being a key factor in the children’s treatment, diagnosis and evaluation, as well as in the leisure activities, due to its playful qualities and because it encourages socialisation.

Music as a therapeutic tool

Since 2016 we have been collaborating with Nexe Fundació in the music therapy project to observe the effects of music on the development of children with multiple disabilities and to improve their quality of life.

Dr. Catherine Clancy, a well-known music therapist, is the project coordinator. She is a NICU-MT (Treatment and medical care of infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) graduate from Florida State University, the National Institute for Infant and Child Medical Music Therapy, and collaborates with the Maternity Unit of the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona introducing music therapy for newborns.

Together with her team, she has introduced music therapy into the routine of the children at Nexe Fundació to strengthen the skills acquired in other therapies. Her goal is to encourage interaction, socialisation, enhance communication, concentration and promote the intentionality of movement and body control.

One of the therapies that Dr. Clancy is developing at the centre is focused on strengthening self-awareness, because music can be a means through which children discover their voice or the stimulus that encourages them to explore the environment. Rhythm and repetition exercises are used to teach children to anticipate what might happen, a skill which gives them a sense of security that is critical for their wellbeing. They also learn to identify songs, use them as a point of reference, and connect them to moments of their daily lives.

The children’s families, who are deeply involved in the project, also participate in some of the music therapy sessions, experiencing and discovering the benefits that music can offer in the psychomotor development of their children with multiple disabilities, and enjoying the fact of being able to play and interact with them.

The Ferrer-Salat Music Foundation provides the necessary sponsorship to carry out this innovative project and, along these lines, to include music therapy in the day-to-day running of the nursery school, furnishing music therapists, a music room, and a bank of musical instruments.

Each month, concerts are organised with scholarship holders from the Liceu Conservatory and the Foundation. They perform works from their repertoires, as well as challenging and stimulating pieces for children, which generate a dialogue through the songs and the experience of live sound itself. In this way, we bring music to those who need it most, allowing them to enjoy unique learning moments with their peers that alleviate suffering.

At the Ferrer-Salat Music Foundation we believe that music is essential for the life of any human being, regardless of their abilities, as it breaks down the barriers created by our cultural, intellectual and/or physical differences, and allows people with mobility, perceptual and/or expressive difficulties to experience emotion and beauty. Without a doubt, music and its transformative power should be accessible to all.


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