Visual impairment

Visual Impairment

The potential benefits of music therapy for people living with a visual disability are numerous and well documented in the clinical practice of music therapy and research. However, music therapy access is still variable for children and adolescents with blindness and sporadic for adults and elderly living with this disability. Music therapists working with this clientele will often work in interdisciplinarity with other professionals. 

WHO can benefit from music therapy

Music therapy helps children, teenagers, adults and elderly who live with a visual disability in supporting them towards achieving therapeutic goals.

Music therapy helps this clientele to:

  • Recognize, express and/or manage emotions
  • Positively self-affirm
  • Promote fine and gross motor skills development
  • Better orient themselves in space
  • Improve intrinsic motivation
  • Improve self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Lower noise induced distress
  • Encourage movement
  • Increase attention
  • Develop cognitive fonctions
  • Increase general quality of life
  • Foster a secure child-parent attachment
  • Increase positive early interactions
  • Live enjoyable experiences
  • Foster participation and arousal
  • Support global child development
  • Promote learning of daily activities
  • Increase communication skills
  • Promote social engagement
  • Offer opportunities of interpersonal social connection
  • Create a sense of community
  • Enhance feelings of empowerment
  • Improve self-regulation and mood
  • Work towards self-acceptance and expression
  • Stimulate discovery and integration of sensory information.

HOW music therapy is used

A variety of music therapy interventions, methods and techniques can be used with this clientele.  The methods chosen may be receptive, improvisational, compositional, or re-recreative.

Sessions can include:

  • Relaxation with musical imagery
  • Creation of motivating or calming playlists
  • Use of adapted music technology
  • Use of music production software
  • Use of adapted instruments
  • Formal and adapted learning of an instrument
  • Song choice, listening, and discussion
  • Singing and playing songs
  • Songwriting and composition
  • Body percussions
  • Music and movement experiences
  • Vocal and instrumental improvisation
  • Percussion circles and rhythmic games in group
  • Bells choir group experiences
  • Use of the vibration of the instruments 
  • Involvement in a show or a concert.

Research and references

At the Institute, we believe sharing knowledge is a fundamental part of our role.  Our Resources includes a growing list of research articles, presentations, videos and other documents, all dedicated to demonstrating how music therapy can positively impact this population and many others.

You will find these references, and more:

  • Music therapy for students who are both deaf and blind truly works, teacher says
  • Exploring music for students who are blind
  • Using Music Technology with Children and Adolescents with Visual Impairment and Additional Disabilities.

To read these and other sources of information, click here: Resources & references about Visual impairment