Click here to receive regular news and updates
Change the life of one child by contributing to the cost of their music therapy sessions.
Reuben (10) is autistic and has attended music therapy at the Raukatauri Centre since he was six.
As part of a pilot project, he has been receiving music therapy at his mainstream school with some of his classmates. His mum, Gilly, says this change came at the right time. "He had done a lot of work with his therapist Claire one on one, and that had built the foundations for music therapy in school.
"It has boosted his confidence in that he can work with other children, that he knows now he can do that. And it has been very good for his peers to see him in another light, that he is good at something. This has made a difference to how they relate to him in the classroom."
It has been exciting to see Reuben transition successfully. He is experiencing playful and interactive relationships with his peers and becoming much more confident at school.
Gilly says music therapy has impacted on many areas of Reuben's life: "It was like opening a door of communication for Reuben and meant people could go into his world and he could come out into theirs."
Isa has complex needs and has received music therapy for four years, initially at the Raukatauri Centre and subsequently through the Centre's Outreach programme at his school.
Isa vocalises expressively, particularly in response to facilitated play on the wind chimes. Receptive experiences have been more appropriate when Isa has been unwell, and he has often shown increased alertness. His therapist is now working with Isa in a pair with a classmate, assisted by a teacher aide, with the aim of increasing his interaction with other people.
Isa's mother, Sonya, says music therapy is a huge part of his life. "I just value it so greatly. He loves music and he really responds to instrumental music. Music therapy is definitely a way he can communicate."
Currently Isa loves the "Drum Song" - laughing when assisted to play fast, vocalising in the pauses, and increasingly responding to his partner's turn.
Thomas' family noticed changes in him soon after he began music therapy. His mum, Alison, reported that he was more interactive with people, and also more gentle.
Thomas has Down Syndrome and developmental delay. Alison says that before Thomas began music therapy he had difficulty with communication, interacting with people and initiation of activities. She says in six months of music therapy he has made huge progress, using more words every day and interacting more positively with family, his classmates and teachers.
"He seeks help from the family by taking our hand and showing us what he wants. Previously if we weren't interacting with him he would simply spin or twiddle things. He still does this, but less often because he is learning to interact with people for their help, and also learning how to initiate play.
"The feedback I have been getting from his teacher is that he is always very focused and ready to learn at school when he returns from music therapy. He participates more fully in class and his relationship with his teachers and teacher aides has improved.
"I have no doubt that the changes seen in Thomas are a result of the music therapy he is receiving."
Cassie attended music therapy at the Centre for three years, and recently has been part of a Raukatauri Outreach programme at her School. During her time at the Centre Cassie became a much-loved client, and it was very rewarding to help her achieve her goals of growing her confidence and helping her manage her anxiety, particularly over new situations.
Cassie has Angelman Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that is responsible for Cassie's enormous stress levels and intellectual disability.
Her parents, Natalie and Rick, noticed a big improvement through music therapy, however the change wasn't immediate.
"She didn't want a bar of it at first," says Natalie, "but I knew she would respond because she absolutely loves music. Over the months, she started to move closer to the instruments and show interest in what was happening, and then started to respond."
During her time at music therapy Cassie began to use more words and the sessions were an important time for Cassie to be able to express herself and relate to others. "She is largely non-verbal, as all Angelman children are," says Natalie. "She does have some words she now uses on a regular basis, but more than anything music has enabled her to explore and experiment with her vocality. Along with gesture, this has improved her overall communication." Cassie's anxiety levels dropped to the point where she was able to participate in more activities outside of music therapy, which has greatly enhanced family life.
"A big achievement was getting Cassie to go to the movies," says her Dad, Rick." In those sorts of environments she could be very difficult."
Beth began music therapy at the Centre as part of a toddler group.
Children's needs change quickly in the first five years of life, and early therapeutic intervention can effect significant positive and lasting change. The Centre began a toddler group to get pre-schoolers off the waiting list and into therapy more quickly.
Beth attended 20 group sessions with three other toddlers, and began individual therapy in 2009.
Her mother, Jane, reports that the most important thing to her about music therapy is how much Beth enjoys it.
"It's such a positive impact that it's difficult to quantify. It is holistic, helping to develop all parts of the child in an integrated way.
"The therapists are extremely intuitive, creative and responsive - always reacting in a positive and accepting way to however the child behaves."
Jane says Beth's sound sensitivity has improved through music therapy, as well as her awareness about what others are doing and when she is expected to respond.
"Her turn-taking skills at home have greatly improved as a result of certain songs in music therapy, as has her language comprehension."