Music can be used to practice and discriminate between sounds, aid in the development of receptive and expressive speech and language skills, improve choice making, communicate information/knowledge and develop an understanding of patterns of language.
Music therapy is effective in improving hand-eye coordination and gross and fine motor skills through instrument playing. Specific instruments can be selected to address the difficulties of an individual. For example, if a child has difficulty tracking and catching a ball, a drum (held by the therapist) and a mallet (held by the child) can be moved to different locations around the child and the child has to track and strike the drum as it moves.
Music as a Rehabilitation technique in CIMR
CIMR did not have to look elsewhere for trainers of classical dances and music – there are at least a dozen performing artistes among its inmates. Some of the students in our centre in Thiruvananthapuram have been pursuing dance and music for over a decade. Now, they will be teaching students like them at the Freedom Centre, probably the first of its kind in the world, Mentally Retarded children have motor functions and psycho-social functions as we do. We just need to facilitate their total development. And art is an essential component in that. It’s a development tool,” says Fr Thomas Felix, director of CIMR.
The rhythmic movement in dance and percussion improves coordination, a key task in training the mentally retarded children. It also stimulates the reactive response of the brain. The improvement is palpable among those students who have been pursuing dance and music for years. The centre, to function from a three-story building, will offer residential training in classical dances like Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kuchipudi, Kathak and Odissi. We have separate auditorium for each dance form. There will also be classes for tabla, veena, violin and other instruments.
Cultural Show by the Specially Challenged People at National Museum
Mentally Retarded children presented a scintillating classical dance and music cultural programme here to prove that they could overcome any hurdle with effort and determination. The show by students from CIMR, was staged at the inauguration of a two-day educational workshop for mentally challenged students at the National Museum on Aug 4, 2011.The children, who had put in years of training like any other classical arts practitioner, presented Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kuchipudi. They also gave a virtuoso performance on the Sitar, Veena and Guitar, holding the audience that included many differently challenged children from Delhi, spell bound. The National Museum Institute (NMI) and the National Museum jointly organised the workshop. It had sessions on painting, crafts and candle-making by expert Neha Juneja, and lectures by Rev. Fr. Thomas Felix. Arun, who is also deaf and dumb, won the biggest applause for his perfect steps and expressions through Odissi, Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dances and later, on Sitar as part of orchestra. Another talented boy Pradeep joined him in all the three dance forms. The Odissi composition was on Dashavatar while Kuchupudi composition was Tharangam in which the two specially talented boys displayed a balancing act with brass plate and pot.
An orchestra comprising eight artistes displayed their skills on complex musical instruments. In the key-note address, Fr. Felix said by developing the motor, psycho-social, language and cognitive skills, any person, whether less-abled or differently abled, can be made to function like any other human being. Less ability does not mean that they are lesser human beings, he said.
This incredible performance shows how the right kind of training for special children can be effective and impactful. We want our children to become economically self-dependant, socially participative and individually self-reliant. The workshop was organised as part of the attempts by the Museum to reach out to the people, including the disabled and the weaker sections. Many differently abled children from CIMR, Aanchal, Delhi and Cheshire Home, Delhi took part in this two-day workshop.
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