For two-year-old Stephanie, after being diagnosed with autism, the program Everyone Deserves Music has been a godsend to her and her family.
Everyone Deserves Music was created in 2015 as a non-for-profit organisation when founder, Monica Zidar, reached out for help to Dr Krista Talbot to fund music therapy programs in schools across South East Queensland.
Ms Zidar is a registered music therapist and has dedicated her life to treating children with disabilities through her love of music.
Ms Zidar has been practising on the Gold Coast for 16 years.
“Everyone Deserves Music was opened when we discovered a need for funding for schools to employ music therapists,” Ms Zidar said.
“The education supports the employment but there isn’t any funding, so we have basically provided that bridge and now can apply for grants and host funding raising events.”
Stephanie began the program in January and her mum couldn’t be happier with the results.
Trudy Hearne said that she had no idea her daughter had autism until Stephanie’s kinder-garden director approached her and told her she needed an aide because of Stephanie’s special needs.
“You could have knocked me over with a feather, I was completely shocked, autism wasn’t even on my radar, I didn’t even really know what autism was,” said Trudy.
Since enrolling in the program, Trudy said that Monica not only has helped her daughter significantly, but also helped her deal emotionally with the struggle and life changing diagnoses.
“A nurse at our GP’s office recommended music therapy and I found Monica through a Google search. At the time I called her I was a mess,” said Trudy.
“Monica spent half an hour on the phone listening to my concerns and giving me advice on the local supports and services- it was at this point I realised things were not nearly as bad as I had thought” she continued.
Dr Krista Talbot president of the program said there is increasing evidence in the benefit of music therapy for children with disabilities.
“It is disappointing that music therapy doesn’t have any Medicare funding and I hope that is a thing of the future,” Dr Talbot said.
Trudy has said Stephanie’s communication has substantially improved, her vocabulary has widened and her social and motor skills have increased dramatically.
“Monica has taught us effective techniques like rhythmic priming. Using a rhythmic cue to get Stephanie to speak/sing is our most successful way to get Stephanie to use her words (for example I sing ‘twinkle twinkle little’… and wait for Stephanie to say ‘star’),” she said.
Ms Zidar hopes that this program will raise the profile of music therapy in schools with the ultimate goal being the Government fun positions around Queensland.
“Music provides an input that creates a brain response more than anything else can.”
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