904 Hickory St, Altus, OK, 73521
We are grounded in the belief that music therapy is a gift that empowers and transforms all ages in the Neurodivergent Spectrum. We believe each deserves the opportunity to have an outlet through musical expression. The arena of music sharpens their intellect, increases their self‐confidence,
connects them with others and fills them with JOY! We simply represent a puzzle piece and it takes many pieces to help complete their puzzle. We are MLSE ASD Studio of Dreams: An Enchanted Musical Journey!
We are not a grassroots organization but we are an ongoing organization with our program efforts. We are a solely volunteer-based organization. Our experience with volunteers is that this work is something that each has brought passion and understands the work involved to produce a high reward.
Our volunteer system helps save overhead of administration (e.g., payroll, benefits, insurance), increases donations, helps boost our visibility, are overnight advocates, increase our impact and brings a diversified background of skills to our mission statement and objectives. As we have experience firsthand that music is an effective and motivating modality to help our loved ones develop, we also share the frustration of the lack of these resources for these families. In 2022, we branded our Autism
Spectrum Disorder Studio of Dreams to provide alternative solutions toa glaring gap of a need in SW OK. Our vision strategy remains part of our mission today.
MLSE’s 3-year grant proposal is directed towards us being an established but an upcoming organization to Southwest Oklahoma with our signature music therapy programs through our Studio of Dreams. Our
proposal focuses on areas of Health and Human Services, Education (STEAM) and Community
Improvement to grow our brand and our outreach of music therapy in all Southwest Oklahoma through our Studio of Dreams. Thorough research factually shows there are no other organization in Southwest
Oklahoma providing our unique experience to our neurodivergent our neurodivergent families, communities, and our local educational institutions. Music therapy is a clinical intervention that helps improve verbal and nonverbal communication skills in children with neurodivergent disorders, for example, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Learning Disabilities (Dyslexia), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Important aspects of communication for children at a young age include early vocalizations, prelinguistic communication skills, joint attention, and eye contact. Children with ASD often struggle with these aspects of communication at a young age, which may cause difficulty in developing language as they
All ages of the neurodivergent spectrum are more attentive to auditory stimuli so they often feel more
connected to music and can understand language more efficiently through music. Music and language have overlapping characteristics such as tempo and pitch, which is why music is very effective intervention for improving language skills with those in the neurodivergent spectrum. There are many different approaches to music therapy, each using music, melody, pitch, and rhythm to activate different parts of the brain to work on the child’s developmental communication skills.
About 1 in 44 children has been identified with neurodivergent disorder (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Learning Disabilities, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) according to estimates from CDC’s Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (DDM) Network. Neurodivergent is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. ASD, specifically, is more than 4 times more common among boys than among girls.
About 1 in 6 (17%) children aged 3–17 years were diagnosed with a developmental disability, as reported by parents, during a study period of 2009-2017. These included autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, blindness, and cerebral palsy, among others. The population MLSE targets is K-12 (5-18); however, we have experienced music therapy with ages from 19-54 that are neurodivergent spectrum, specifically our elderly and our PTSD veterans.
We have been able to determine with the assistance of our Oklahoma.gov and the Center for Disease and Control data not available), we have approximately 1800, of all ages, that are in this neurodivergent category. We currently have 6 children that we provide in studio, in home, facility, and learning settings who are considered full-time and 4 that are of learning disability and PTSD as needed involved in our programs. As part of this project request, it will benefit our community, our educational system and these of neurodivergent disorders for us to grow our program our population exponentially to:
- 50 children (or adults as needed) *Fiscal Year 1 (FY01)
- 75 Fiscal Year 2 (FY02)
- 100 Fiscal Year 3 (FY03)
*Fiscal Year is January 1st to December 31st.
We believe our children, our future, can and have been successful in our following programs:
1. MLSE Studio of Dreams Established Individual Sessions. Our sessions are tailored to meet the needs of each child. We have lesson plans and progress reports to monitor the development of life skills with the exploration of music through percussion, songwriting, piano, movement, guitar, creative improvisation, music technology and the child’s own voice.
2. MLSE Studio of Dreams Established Group Sessions. Our music therapy groups are more structured
than individual sessions. The structural element of music is very effective in bring order to a group of
individuals who possess different energy levels, methods of communication and emotions on any given day. We like to use terms like Welcome Songs, rhythmic and melodic improvisation, action songs and a
Goodbye Song at end of each session.
3. MLSE Individual Music Improvisation Sessions. We have developed a fun and less structured program as another conduit to the child’s current emotions. In these sessions, we allow the child more freedom to choose during each session of creating a melody, rhythm, song or an instrumental piece. This program is popular with children in the teens as it is a pure way of working towards understanding, acceptance and fostering their own identity make-up.
Our common goals and focus areas to empower our children/youth are:
• Academic and Cognitive Skills
• Coping Skills
• Communication and Self-Expression
• Promotion of Independence
• Motor Development
• Social Skills
We are also collaborating with the public schools of Southwest Oklahoma on introducing music therapy to the Special Education (SPED) Individual Education Plans (IEP) as our entire state does not have music therapy in our public schools. We have also identified only one university with a music therapy program, Southwestern Oklahoma State University) that has a Music Therapy Program. In our current location, we do not have a Music Therapy - Board Certified (MT-BC) in a 150 mile radius of us so it is a gap that we have identified and we want to provide part of the solution as we are a stand-alone but also want to integrate our programs into our public schools.