Free Summer Music Program for
Children with Special Needs Facilitated by Westwood Rotary
Westwood, NJ. The Westwood Public Library has begun hosting a six-week music group for children with special needs (age pre-K through early primary).
The program, Social Music Jam, is offered by Marble Jam Kids, and is funded by *David's Fund, an endowment established by Tom and Lucy Ott of Westwood for the support and advancement of music therapy.
Social Music Jam is a therapeutic music group for children with developmental disabilities who have difficulty with social functioning. While engaging children in the process of making music, each session is designed to stimulate development, encourage socialization with their peers, and teach appropriate and joyful ways of interacting with others. Tom Ott stated “Music therapy has shown therapeutic benefits in many health related conditions, including persons with special needs. Our expectation is that these children will benefit from this summer program and it will lead to future, successful music therapy interventions for them.”
The goals over the course of the program include initiating interactions, increasing self-esteem and self-confidence, joining in play, sustaining eye contact, increasing ability to attend, increasing receptive and expressive language, and sharing enjoyment with others. Children will have the opportunity to play instruments, take turns, sing, improvise, and use props such as a parachute and scarves. Joann Nahmias, a mother of one of the children said “My son has loved the music program with Elizabeth. She is wonderful with children and especially with children with special needs. My son has so much fun in the class. He has always been musically-inclined, however, private special needs music classes can be very expensive, so we haven't participated in one for a few years. It is so great to have a free, fun and educational class available for him to enjoy!”
Social Music Jam is led by Elizabeth Balzano, a board certified music therapist who has been working with young children and music for 14 years. Elizabeth is the co-creator and co-producer of Bounce!, a series of DVDs created for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Elizabeth was featured nationally on the PBS Sprout show Musical Mornings, and currently works as a music therapist in New York City and is the Creative Arts Therapy Supervisor at MarbleJam Kids in Bergen County NJ.
To inquire about future Social Music Jam programs, please contact: Martha Urbiel, Director, The Westwood Free Public Library, 49 Park Avenue, Westwood, NJ 07675 (201) 664-0583. To learn more about MarbleJam Kids go to their website www.marblejamkids.sharepoint.com.
For information about Westwood Rotary visit our website at www.westwoodrotarynj.com.
*David’s Fund is a philanthropic endowment established in 1996 by Tom and Lucy Ott in loving memory of their son David. It is devoted exclusively to the support and advancement of the field of music therapy with funding going to research, education, clinical services and other related activities.