I returned home late Sunday night from the National Music Therapy Conference in St. Louis, MO.

I had so much to tell my husband that I didn’t fall asleep until midnight (which for someone who has had a rough go with sleep this past year that’s saying a lot!)

I had a wonderful time that at conference – making connections with new and old friends, meeting blog readers (THANK YOU to those of you who came up to say hi!!), and of course learning about the latest in research and clinical practice.

Some of the highlights ~

Dr. Blythe LaGasse and Michelle Hardy’s presentation on neurodevelopment for music therapy and autism. In the presentation Dr. LaGasse discussed the precursors needed for socialization. Those include cognitive skills  such as attention, working memory, and executive functioning; communication skills such as theory of mind, and motor control for verbal and nonverbal exchange; and sensory motor skills such the ability to process information in the environment. This was a great reminder that although we may want to jump to creating a social goal for our clients, we need to first consider all the skills that are required for socialization to happen.

Elizabeth Schwartz and Varvara Pasiali’s presentation on a preventative model of music therapy for children in limited resource communities was excellent as well. They spoke about resource oriented music therapy, where the focus is on the strengths of the client and empowerment, rather than on areas of need as we are often taught in school.

Another stand-out presentation was one by Rachel See and Whitney Ostercamp. They presented on an interdisciplinary approach to consultative music therapy services. I am a huge proponent of collaborating with other professionals on the treatment team, and this presentation offered tons of creative ideas for how to use audiovisual components and technology to target a variety of goal areas.

I still need to go back and organize my notes, read through my handouts again and come up with specifics on how I can implement what I’ve learned. I don’t want this information to just sit in a folder. I want to take what I’ve learned and use it my sessions in a meaningful way.

I’d love to hear from you – what was your favorite part about AMTA17?