"Music has charms to soothe the savage beast," but that's not all music can do. At Texas Children's Hospital NICU unit it can also help families bond, provide nurturing stimulation and interactions in some of the most difficult of new parenting circumstances.
Texas Children’s Hospital has launched a new program that provides music therapy to babies in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and the inpatient rehabilitation unit. Defined by the The American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music to accomplish individualized goals. In the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) there is no time like the present to accomplish those individualized goals that vary so widely based on each baby's specific needs.
“Music therapy is about providing families with the tools to interact and bond with their babies,” said Amy Smith, board certified music therapist at Texas Children’s Hospital. “When a parent has a very small and very sick baby, they may be unable to hold or touch their newborn and music therapy can encourage bonding through songs and lullabies.”
Research at TCH indicates that benefits of music therapy include:
- To create a more supportive environment during critical periods of brain development that may help improve outcomes.
- Create a positive impact on sleep patterns, bonding and even on hospital stays.
- Music therapy focuses on incorporating rehabilitation goals into fun and motivating music interventions, which can involve caregivers, family and medical professionals.
- Music therapy can help patients with brain injuries access skills and functions through different brain pathways.
- Music therapy can provide motivation for difficult and challenging tasks and song writing or music video creation can be an outlet for emotional needs during long hospitalizations.
The music therapy program is a part of the Texas Children's Hospital Child Life Department. Contact them directly for more information.