You know what sounds like fun? Playing some music, making new friends, and hanging out at ESP! We get to do all of these things at ESPlay! Every Wednesday from 9:30 am to 10:45 am, we invite participants aged 0-4 years old and their families to come spend time with us.
ESPlay engages our participants in what is called music therapy- this is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. It is a well established allied health profession that uses music therapeutically to address behavioral, social, psychological, communicative, physical, sensory-motor, and/or cognitive functioning.
Dr. Ellyn Evans, an assistant professor of Music Therapy at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia, is our lead music therapist and brings a few of her students in order to train them in her specialized work. She is currently writing a music therapy curriculum for this age group, and working with ESP gives her the chance to hone in on her craft and bring joy to our participants.
One of the most important aspects of ESPlay is the friendships made through the families of our participants. Our parents express the isolation that raising a child with a disability often creates, with friends who do not have a child with a disability often fading away, or the social anxiety in taking their child out in public due to fear of a tantrum or not knowing if a place is fully accessible. Each of our families face unique obstacles in raising a child with a disability, obstacles that most families never have to face. ESPlay is a special time to meet other families with young children at ESP and foster relationships in a comfortable environment.
ESPlay is a free program with no sign-up or obligation to attend because we don’t want to make this experience ever feel like another in a list of appointments, and certainly no music skills are required for families to attend. The program is always growing and always welcoming to new participants and their families that want to attend!