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Katy Independent School District

Special Ed Operating Procedures

Music Therapy

What's Required

Music Therapy (MT) is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. American Music Therapy Association, 2015.

As a related service, music therapy provides services to students with disabilities that are determined by the ARD committee to need these services in order to benefit from their special education.


What We Do

Referral Process

When a campus or parent concern arises for a student that may require the expertise of a music therapist as related to the student's educational needs, the campus will consider whether a referral to music therapy is warranted. There are several circumstances under which a referral to music therapy may be generated.

  1. Students may be currently receiving special education services and demonstrate a lack of progress on a goal in an area that may require the addition of MT in order to allow the student to make satisfactory progress on that goal. 

  2. Students may move in to the district with MT as part of their Individual Education Plan.

  3. Students may be undergoing a Full and Individual Evaluation to determine eligibility for special education and MT is included in the process.

  4. It is determined at the Review of Existing Evaluation Data (REED) meeting that updated assessment from music therapy is needed.

1.  For students currently receiving special education services:  The ARD committee will:

  • Determine if there is an educational need for an MT consult/evaluation.

    • If yes, a REED will be held and parental consent obtained to generate a referral for an MT consult/evaluation which will be emailed to Carlene Bexley at carlenebexley@katyisd.org.
    • If no, move the next step in the referral process as follows.
  • Review the student's progress in the identified IEP Goals and Objectives.

  • Use measurable data to determine if there are barriers limiting the student's progress in the identified goals and objectives or if there are additional areas of difficulty for the student not previously identified.

  • Consider campus based supports, including general intervention strategies that are available to campus personnel on the OT/PT/MT Canvas Course that may address the identified barrier or additional area of difficulty.

    • If data shows that the strategies have not resulted in adequate improvement in performance, and the barriers limiting student progress involve performance skills in the areas of motor/functional skills or social interaction, the ARD committee should request a consult/evaluation for MT.

2.  For students who move into the district with music therapy as part of their IEP:

  • The Diagnostic Specialist will notify the therapist(s) of the move-in using the appropriate SPED referral form and email it to Carlene Bexley at carlenebexley@katyisd.org.
  • The student will be ARDed for 30 school days according to the provisions in the IEP from the previous school district.
  • The therapist will use this time to collect data needed to determine recommendations for music therapy services in the new setting.   
  • Please Note:  The therapist must have the following in order to provide music therapy services:
    • a current evaluation in hand (accurate/within last 3 years)
    • goals that indicate MT support
    • MT time, frequency and duration specified on the services page

Without these, the MT can only provide general intervention strategies.  If a current and adequate MT evaluation does not come with the student's paperwork, the MT will update the student's present level of performance in their current educational setting and complete an MT evaluation.

3.  For students who are currently undergoing a Full and Individual Initial Evaluation to determine eligibility for special education:

  • On occasion, the evaluation team may determine that information from music therapy is needed in order to determine if the related service of MT would be necessary in the event the student qualifies for special education.
  • If it is determined that music therapy is needed to participate in the Full and Individual Initial Evaluation, the diagnostic specialist or speech therapist will send a referral to music therapy utilizing the appropriate SPED referral form and emailing it to Carlene Bexley at carlenebexley@katyisd.org.

4.  For students who are undergoing a re-evaluation process and it is determined that an updated music therapy evaluation is needed:

  • The diagnostic specialist or speech therapist will procure parent permission for an MT re-evaluation and send a referral to music therapy utilizing the appropriate SPED referral form and email it to Carlene Bexley at carlenebexley@katyisd.org.

Evaluation Process

The MT evaluation includes the general categories of psychological, cognitive, communicative, social, and physiological functioning focused on the client's needs and strengths. The evaluation will also determine the client's responses to music, music skills and musical preferences. Evaluation methods may include, but need not be limited to, observation during music or other situations, interview, verbal and nonverbal interventions, and testing. American Music Therapy Association Standards for Clinical Practice.

  • In responding to the request for consultation/evaluation the music therapist may do any or all of the following:
  • Review information such as work samples, report cards, outside evaluations, district evaluations, teacher observations, and previously attempted strategies. 
  • Collaborate with the student's teacher(s) regarding the student's history and progress in relation to the identified educational concern.
  • Observe the student in the educational setting during the time and in the environment(s) where the problem(s) occurs.
  • If no additional support is indicated and it is determined that the area of concern can be addressed through general strategies (including classroom level interventions), the MT will complete the HCDE MT Consultation Services form describing any observations/considerations and suggestions or follow-up that are recommended, review this information with the ARD committee and provide this form to the campus diagnostician or speech therapist to file in the state folder.
  • If an MT evaluation is indicated, the music therapist will complete the evaluation and review with the ARD committee.

Service Delivery Models

  • Student specific services are provided in an integrated model to facilitate the implementation of the IEP in the natural environment at school (including classrooms, hallways, cafeterias, gym, playground, etc.) Student specific MT services are available for all students receiving special education services if an educational need is identified by the ARD Committee. MT services are provided as an integrated support. Integrated MT service time may be used to work with the student in classroom or other school environments to determine appropriate strategies, interventions and musical equipment/tools, and to train instructional staff on how and when to use strategies, interventions and musical equipment/tools. Services may be provided in a group music therapy session in order to address goals that often require socialization, communication and cooperation with others.  The MT provider will participate with the collaborative team on the campus to assess the effectiveness of interventions and to revise/adapt interventions as needed.
  • A music therapist is assigned to each campus in Katy ISD and is available as a campus resource.

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