Music therapy in the public schools may be provided in one of two ways:

By decision of the IEP committee (as a related service)

By decision of the school district (as educational enrichment)

By Decision of the IEP Committee (Assessment-Based,Related Service Music Therapy)

The IEP committee, at the request of a parent or school district representative, may request a music therapy assessment for a particular student. The assessment must be administered by a board-certified music therapist (MT-BC) and the process should include a records review, interviews, observation, MT assessment session(s), and preparation of a written report for the IEP team.

The purpose of the music therapy assessment is to determine whether music therapy is necessary for the student to benefit from his/her education. This is decided by looking at whether or not music provides the student with a significant motivation and/or a significant assist in participating in his or her educational program. A comprehensive music therapy assessment will include a music therapy evaluation that has been designed to address the specific goals and objectives of the student in question, and an observation of the student working without musical support so that a comparison can be made.

A student may "enjoy" music, but perform no better in a music therapy structure than he or she does in the regular classroom. A student may readily participate and successfully complete functional tasks in music therapy, but not have any goals in his or her IEP that can be structured with music strategies. Again, a related service like music therapy is provided only when it has been shown to be necessary for the student to benefit from his or her individual educational program.

Click here to see a checklist that you can use to determine if a music therapy assessment is appropriate for your student.

Once the music therapy assessment has been completed, the IEP committee meets to review the report and recommendations. If the IEP committee, including the parent or guardian, agrees with the findings of the music therapy report (recommendation or denial of music therapy as a related service), that decision is legally binding. If the service is recommended, it must be provided.

Decisions about the need for a particular related services are reviewed annually. A student may continue to receive the service if educational need is again established; service provision may be changed if the student's performance changes; or service may be discontinued if it is no longer necessary.

Use the link in the list above to learn about Music Therapy as Educational Enrichment.

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