When Chris Stat read about music therapy, she couldn't help
wondering if it might help her son Nick, who had multiple
disabilities when he was adopted.
Kids enjoy drumming at the Music Institute of
"Everything was bothering him," says Stat. "He would scream
constantly, would just have tantrums all the time, just not
enjoying life at all." She'd read about the therapeutic aspects of
music and decided to take Nick to sessions at the Music Institute
of Chicago. "He was constantly in the time-out room in school
because he just could not pull himself together. But by using music
and by using art and his imagination and building, it has really,
really helped him to focus more."
"We believe very strongly that every child, no matter what their
ability, has an urge to create," says Ted Rubenstein, clinical
director for the Institute for Therapy through the Arts. The
institute, part of the
Music Institute of Chicago, provides an outlet for that urge to
roughly 3,100 people a year, more than half of whom are
"One of our missions is to remove the barriers, to work with the
program, work with teachers to make sure each student can fully
engage and benefit from arts instruction," says Rubenstein. The
institute fulfills those goals in two ways-through therapy sessions
and inclusion in mainstream arts programming. Therapy sessions are
tailored to the needs of the child, with the ultimate goal of
moving the child completely into mainstream lessons. The institute
starts every child in mainstream lessons, then adds restrictions,
such as an aide and private sessions, until a balance is struck
between therapy and arts education.
The institute worked with Nick to control his hyperactivity and
keep his emotions in check by combining drum lessons and art
"In the beginning, all he did was scribble," says Stat. "Now he
sits and he draws, and he builds cars and planes and uses his
imagination. He's able to be more creative and feel a sense of
Nick has made similar strides in music, and has had parts in two
musicals put on by the institute. Now he can use music to calm
himself, or express his emotions by writing a song."He's still
working on it, but he has just done remarkable," says Stat. "I just
get amazed at where he was to where he is now."
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