• Hermi Viljoen

Benefits of music therapy for individuals with Down syndrome

Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are:

· low muscle tone 

· small stature

· an upward slant to the eyes

· a single deep crease across the center of the palm

*Each person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all.

Benefits of music therapy for individuals with Down syndrome:

· Music has the ability to improve short and long-term memory, communication, and social skills.

· Music is a fun and motivating way to tackle challenging or repetitive tasks.

· Singing and rhythm provide a way to help the pacing and articulation of speech, thus assisting with pronunciation of words.

· Help develop a passion for music, which provides opportunities for a lifelong way to use leisure time productively, cultivate talents, and socialize with others by making music with others.

· The inherent rhythmic patterns in music can provide a timing cue to improve motor skills.

Music therapy offers individuals with Down syndrome alternative communicative options. In addition, group sessions can offer individuals different ways of socially interacting and also encourage positive social development by increasing self-esteem. Individuals learn how to interact with others by taking turns and sharing through collective music making. This positive and creative engagement is truly beneficial.


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