Improvisational Music Therapy and DIR

Improvisational Music Therapy and DIR:
An Emotional Continuous Flow

Handouts: CLICK HERE

Gil Tippy, Psy.D., Clinical Director, Rebecca School, NY, with

Stacey Hensel, MA., MT-BC, LCAT, NRMT,

Kenji Takeda, MA, MT- BC, LCAT, NRMT,

Zachary Kandler, MA, MT-BC


This presentation will focus on how the DIR® Model and Music Therapy, are key in supporting a core feature of Autism Spectrum Disorders; the difficulties to move from the world of the concrete into the world of abstraction. Particular emphasis will be given to the synergy of DIR® and Music Therapy, more specifically, Nordoff-Robbins music therapy and how together they can intervene, leading to less restrictive and more typical lives for the recipients. Further, the speed with which these inter-related interventions can make remarkable differences at this most difficult juncture will be demonstrated. Video examples will be used throughout. The presentation will include views from a school team of psychologists and music therapists. The participants will learn about how music therapy can be key in addressing the issue of “generalization," the problem of how to broaden a child’s functioning across different situations, different persons, and perhaps most importantly, across different affects, or moods. Individual children will be looked at in depth, with attention to how their particular programs were developed. Children’s Functional Emotional Developmental Levels, their Individual Differences and the Relationships with those around them will be examined, and the importance of a continuous flow of communication, and Music Therapy’s absolutely essential role in that continuous flow of communication, and the developments of abstraction.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to

  • Explain the essential role of improvisational, interactive music therapy in the DIR intervention.

  • Describe how music therapy can facilitate a continuous flow in students with speech and language difficulties

  • Acknowledge the importance of a trans-disciplinary intervention across the lifespan in DIR®