How Music Affects Children with Disabilities

Music is a powerful thing. Hearing a song from our high school days can instantly transport us back to those hallways and classrooms, bringing back faces and memories we haven’t thought of in years. For those who are musically inclined, spending time at a piano or with a guitar in hand can neutralize stress and revive a tired spirit.
That same musical power also affects children with disabilities in a positive, life-giving way, as evidenced by the following story of one child’s journey. As you look for resources for special needs children, be sure to include music in your search — you’ll be amazed at the way it can change a child’s life!special needs resources

Mark Lucas’s Story

As a child with a love and natural talent for music, Mark Lucas was shocked when he lost control of his muscles at 13 years old. He was diagnosed with epilepsy and began to suffer multiple seizures every day. It was a grim challenge for anyone — but Mark was a drummer, and had thought he’d found his life’s calling. How was he supposed to play the drums if he was having seizures?
After seven years of epileptic seizures, Mark underwent brain surgery. It fixed the seizures, but he could no longer use the left side of his body. In spite of this new roadblock, Mark found healing through his music and eventually learned to play with both hands again. Soon he realized his music had never been about him — it had been about learning to help others.
Today, Mark is a music therapist with Drums and Disabilities, a nonprofit located in Leeds, Alabama. He uses drums to give children with disabilities — everything from Attention Deficit Disorder to Autism —  a sense of accomplishment. Playing the drums helps them with communication skills, fine motor skills, coordination, and balance.
Mark says, “The best thing about music therapy is that it’s fun. It can help break through walls of fear, anger, lack of confidence, or poor self-esteem.”
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Devin’s Breakthrough

Though he’s witnessed several “a-ha!” moments with the children he teaches, Mark’s experience with a little boy named Devin is unforgettable. Devin was 8 years old, blind, and unable to speak, and wanted nothing to do with Mark’s drums. Mark considered the situation and realized that blind people often respond well to piano keys. Thankfully, there was a piano in the room already.
Mark used his phone to play a few notes from a classical piano piece, then played them on the piano with Devin’s fingers under his own. They did this twice — but on the third time, before Mark could even play the notes from his phone again, Devin played them on the piano perfectly all by himself.
Mark says, “It’s moments like those, and kids like Devin, that strip away all the pretenses, and I know that what I’m doing counts.”
How amazing that something as simple as a few musical notes on a phone spoke to a boy who could not communicate to the outside world!

Alabama Family Trust: Resources for Special Needs Children

The Alabama Family Trust’s own CFO, Doug Marshall has served as a coach to Mark, opening up doors for Mark to serve both children and adults with disabilities with his music therapy techniques in addition to public speaking opportunities to further educate professionals and families on these life changing techniques.
No matter what challenges you and your family are facing, Alabama Family Trust is here to help! Contact us today for information on special needs trusts and more!

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Contact Alabama Family Trust via the contact link below to learn more about special needs trust funds.

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