08 September 2008 - 0 Comments
More special needs children than ever are receiving much-needed help now that the country’s sole music therapy centre is seeing more than 100 clients a week.
Founded only four years ago, the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre in Auckland provides music therapy for special needs children of school age and younger.
With only one music therapist and a part-time administrator, the centre treated only 36 children in its first year of operation in 2004/05, raising $140,000 in donations.
The centre now sees 105 children every week, has four music therapists, a full-time director and an administrator, and in the last financial year raised $375,000 through donations.
Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust Chairman Campbell Smith says the client milestone is both pleasing and challenging.
“It certainly illustrates the need for our services, but frankly we are a long way from entirely meeting that need,” Mr Smith says. “It is great that we can help more children now, and that is solely due to the many organisations and individuals who support the Centre through donations.”
Centre clients pay only as much as they can afford, with some receiving free therapy.
“In addition, we now run six Outreach programmes at Auckland schools, which enable us to work with clients in their learning environments.
“Last year we had about 65 children complete a music therapy programme. This year that will be even higher. There is real and urgent demand for music therapy.”
Music therapy is about building bridges of communication through music and helping clients develop new skills which can be transferred to other aspects of life.
Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre supports clients with physical, intellectual, behavioural and emotional issues. Through music therapy, the children can improve motor skills and speech, grow their self-confidence and self-awareness, strengthen social skills and improve memory, behaviour, and concentration.
“Sustainable growth and development through music therapy can greatly improve the quality of life of these children, and of the people around them, including parents and caregivers, siblings and classmates,” Mr Smith says.
“While we have reached the milestone figure of 100 clients every week there is still plenty more we need to do. Funding is the key.”
Music therapists work with individuals and groups seeking to discover how each person relates and responds to music through engaging them in a musical dialogue.
The centre has a number of support organisations, including the Lion Foundation, Todd Foundation, ASB Community Trust, and music industry group RIANZ, and has received numerous private donations. It also holds an annual fundraising auction of music memorabilia in November.
For further information about its activities and how to support the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre, please visit www.rmtc.org.nz.
Thanks to www.rmtc.org.nz for this story.
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