Sometimes children with special needs just need special tools.
A pilot program at Neptune Beach Elementary School is helping kids with special needs connect through music.
Parents, teachers and school administrators are trying to raise money to make the 10-week music therapy pilot program go year-round.
“Dante, my son, is 7-years-old and he was born with Down Syndrome and without an esophagus. He’s nonverbal and he has limited hearing and sight. He doesn’t speak, but he loves music,” said Karen Demuth.
Demuth said she’s already seen her son have breakthroughs, just six weeks into the pilot program.
Board certified music therapist Steven Amburn said it goes beyond joy; it’s about teaching skills the kids can use outside the classroom.
Amburn uses maracas to teach the children impulse control.
“I give them a shaker and I say, ‘We’re not going to shake it yet,’” said Amburn. “Impulse control: You could see a crosswalk and want to walk across the street, but you have to wait.”
"My son is 7-years-old, & he was born with Down Syndrome & without an esophagus. He’s nonverbal & he has limited hearing and sight. He doesn’t speak, but he loves music.” How you can help make a pilot program for special needs kids go year-round at 5:55 on CBS47 @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/XsTVYALpnL— Jenna Bourne (@jennaANjax) April 20, 2018
Amburn said he’s gathering data on each child during the pilot program to measure their growth.
To get a year-round music therapy program, Neptune Beach Elementary needs to raise money -- about $35,000 for the first year alone.
“These children are going to have a more joyful life and they’re going to function at a higher level if we can give them the correct tools while they are in school,” said Demuth.
Sometimes kids with special needs just need special tools. At 5:55 on CBS47 @ActionNewsJax, I'm going to show you how a music therapy pilot program is helping these kids connect through music. pic.twitter.com/Wvq5k2GSL6— Jenna Bourne (@jennaANjax) April 20, 2018
The school is holding a fundraiser on campus called “CONNECTING Thru MUSIC: May the 4th Be with You” on May 4 from 5:30-8 p.m.
The fundraiser will feature local bands, food, a silent auction, raffle, activities for kids and a Star Wars costume contest.
Tickets are $5 per person or $15 per family.
Look at the joy on this boy's face! He's shaking a tambourine while music therapist Steven Amburn sings and plays guitar. At 5:55 on CBS47 @ActionNewsJax, I'm going to show you how you can help kids with special needs in #NeptuneBeach get music therapy year-round. pic.twitter.com/hg5EysGURL— Jenna Bourne (@jennaANjax) April 20, 2018
The school is looking for event sponsors, auction donations, and donations of gently-used musical instruments.
If you’d like to learn about other ways to support the music therapy program, click here.
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