What is the IEP and Why is it Important for the Music Educator to be Involved in this Process?
The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the legal document that results from the initial assessment and periodic reviews of students receiving special education services. Among other things, the IEP identifies the educational goals and suggested teaching strategies for each student along with what related services are required to meet those goals. Since placement in a music classroom may be a part of the student’s IEP, the music educator needs to understand how the process works and what services may be available to the student in order to ensure a successful participation. A music therapist can assist the music educator in defining and developing the pre-requisite musical, behavioral, and social skills necessary for the student to be successful in the music classroom.
The following research-based examples demonstrate the value of music therapy for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):
- Music therapy interventions are informed by research evidence and incorporate many of the identified ASD-specific evidence-based practices in each session (Kern, Rivera, Chandler, & Humpal, 2013).
- Music therapy services for young children with ASD are very effective for improving communication, interpersonal skills, personal responsibility, and play (Whipple, 2012).
- Music therapy interventions may elicit joint attention (Kalas, 2012); enhance auditory processing, other sensory-motor, perceptual/motor, or gross/fine motor skills (LaGasse & Hardy, 2013); and identify and appropriately express emotions (Katagiri, 2009).
- Music therapy interventions based on family- centered practice may increase social engagement in the home environment and community (Thompson, McFerran, & Gold, 2013).
- Music therapy interventions using musically adapted social stories may modify target behavior and teach new skills (Brownell, 2002).
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