AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Turn Center in Amarillo is trying out a new type of therapy with some of its younger patients.
Just finishing up its first month, the pilot music therapy program at Turn Center is already making a difference in a handful of kids who struggle with communication.
Therapists there are no strangers to how music can help the kids they work with.
"We see music work in our regular sessions, we sing to a lot of our kids just in regular therapy and we've seen improvement with attention, we've seen improvement with task completion and even motor movement," said Kelisha Murray, Director of Occupational Therapy. "So we felt like that would be a good area to bring an expert in and do more work with our kids."
This process started when WT music therapy major Katherine Boehs was looking for somewhere to complete her practicum class.
She now works with five young boys once each week under the supervision of a licensed music therapist.
"They've actually gotten a lot calmer [over the past 4 weeks]," said Boehs. "They haven't been running around the room as much which is great."
Music therapy sessions start with an opening song, and the group spends the next 40 minutes or so working on following directions, talking with each other and improving social skills.
Some of Boehs' patients have autism, and others have a developmental delay.
"We chose kids that were having trouble vocalizing and having trouble communicating in the social aspects of life," said Murray.
This pilot program will run through the beginning of December, and Boehs has high hopes for how this will help the kids.
"I'm hoping that the boys will use their voices more regularly and actually be able to talk to each other," she said. "And when they want something they'll use appropriate words like 'please' and 'thank you,' and not get up and run around."
Murray said if this trial period proves beneficial to these kids, Turn Center will be looking into making music therapy a permanent option for its patients.