Music is used to actively support people to improve their health and well-being but can you use your NDIS funding to access music therapy? In short, yes. Music therapy has been recognised by the NDIS for inclusion in plans under the support cluster of Therapeutic Supports.
What are Therapeutic Supports?
Therapeutic supports are defined as supports that assist the participant to gain skills and improve independence related to identified needs in areas such as:
- language and communication,
- personal care,
- mobility and movement,
- interpersonal interactions,
- community living to support positive changes in the person's functioning, development and well-being.
Music Therapists are specifically named in the by the NDIS Provider Guide as therapists registered to deliver Early Intervention Supports for Early Childhood [Early Childhood Supports] and Therapeutic Supports.
Who can deliver music therapy support?
It can be delivered by registered Music Therapists (who must have a post-graduate degree) and by Therapy Assistants under their supervision.
What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is an established, evidence-based, research supported profession that uses musical intervention to improve the physical, cognitive, social, and/or emotional well-being of individuals.
Music therapists are musicians trained at university. They study how music can affect behaviours and how people feel and think.
Music affects our bodies, our minds and our feelings. It breaks down barriers of disability and builds bridges of communication, helping us to relate to each other better. It has the power to change moods, refocus attention, elicit emotions, express feelings, improve speech, improve gross and fine motor skills as well as promote social interaction and improve quality of life.
How can music therapy help you achieve your NDIS goals?
Consider these questions when deciding whether Music Therapy is appropriate:
- Is music an important part of your life?
- Would you like to share your music time with other people?
- Would you like to explore ways to express yourself more?
- Could playing music with other people help you feel better?
How can I request funding for music therapy in my NDIS plan?
If you want to include music therapy in your plan, the therapy needs to link to specific goals outlined in the person's plan, and needs to be reasonable and necessary.
Common goals that music therapy can help to achieve:
- To give me opportunities to meet people and make friends
- To increase my social skills
- To help me express my feelings, control my emptions and feel happy
- To encourage me to speak using song
- To maintain or improve mobility, communication and/or cognitive processing
- To improve my social interaction with others and learn appropriate behaviour in groups.
- Build my self esteem/confidence.
For example, weekly group music therapy sessions can help achieve your goal of increasing social interaction: making friends, meeting people, socialising, communicating etc.
For a child eligible for early intervention, this could be covered by a goal towards social inclusion, capacity building or expressing emotions and feelings.
Examples of Case Studies to show how music is included in NDIS plan using goals (exctracted from the AMTA White Paper in the resources below):
- Australian Music Therapy Association - Music Therapy and the NDIS White Paper (includes the case studies extracted above)
- Understanding the NDIS and how it views Music Therapy
- Gladstone's NDIS now includes music therapy
- My Care Space - The evidence on music therapy
- What is Music Therapy
- Provider Registration Guide to Suitability (pg 14 & 16)
- Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Providers