The benefits of a music therapy program were detailed at a recent meeting of the Monett Kiwanis Club.
Deanna Cecenas, a musical therapist who recently completed a four-year degree with the University of Missouri-Kansas City, described operations at the Center for Music Therapy and Wellness, located at 400 Fourth St., on the Drury University campus in Monett.
A violinist, Cecenas played through high school with the Ozark Festival Orchestra. Music therapy is a discipline first used in veterans hospitals. Michigan State University offered a degree in the field in 1944 and it became standardized as a widely recognized discipline in 1988. Professionals formed the American Music Therapy Association in 1998.
The Center for Music Therapy and Wellness is funded by grants from the Barry and Lawrence tax boards for the developmentally disabled. Its clients largely have intellectual disabilities, Down's Syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and other developmental problems. Around 60 clients a week receive therapy, either individually or in groups.
Cecenas said music reaches people in personal ways. Clients have care plans and individual education plans (IEPs) to serve as a reference. Goals and objectives are shaped to meet individual needs.
At times music can serve to overcome physical barriers. Cecenas described a patient who chronically slumped. She brought in drums, and as the patient freely applied a rhythm, over time she increased the height of the drums, encouraging better posture. She also placed the drums at the patient's sides and enhanced his range of motion.
Paying attention to instruction can enhance bilateral coordination. Stroke victims may respond to musical cues when speech remains elusive. Some who cannot speak are able to sing, enabling the mind to channel ideas through an undamaged part of the brain. Some who cannot talk about an experience can describe feelings by writing a song.
Cecenas gave the Kiwanians a demonstration with some of her tools. She broke the group into three parts and directed the playing of bells. Some who could not swing the bells substituted a push-button response.
More information on the field is avaliable at www.musictherapy.org or by calling Cecenas at 417-489-4599.
Cecenas was introduced by Norm Hammond, club vice president. President Gordon Brown presided at the meeting.
In club news, a Valentine's dinner will be served for the Tuesday, Feb. 12, meeting at the Scott Regional Technology Center. A pancake supper will be held at Scott Tech in March.
The Monett Kiwanis Club meets at noon on Tuesdays for a meal and a program, usually at Happy House restaurant.