Focusing on Developmental Levels

I have been thinking about developmental levels for a time now.

I work with children and adolescents with developmental and psychiatric disorders for a while now. In my career, I have moved through several philosophical views, but have always returned to the idea of focusing on meaningful interactions based on the clients' developmental levels.

Recently my facility's population has started to swing towards kids severely involved on the autism spectrum. With these kids especially, developmental milestones are essential when attempting to establish a therapeutic relationship. It is important to understand where a child is on the developmental scale in order to design interactions that are meaningful to the client. If I am asking an adolescent boy to play call-response patterns when he is really in the stage of free play and sensory interaction, neither of us will be satisfied with the result of the session.

I have found a couple of good books that I hope will strengthen my therapeutic relationships with my students. I will post more on these books when I unpack my box from the conference (which I will not receive until Monday). I am looking forward to remembering what I have forgotten about developmental music therapy. In the meantime, I will observe my clients and their responses to the music experiences I initiate.

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