My team members and I leading a virtual music activity at the WIU Adapted Motor Clinic, spring 2021.

Interdisciplinary work has been something that has interested me since I started college. During my time at WIU, I took part in the WIU Adapted Motor Clinic. This was a multidisciplinary project that provided physical education services to local students with special needs. During my time working in the Adapted Motor Clinic, I had the opportunity to collaborate and co-treat with students studying to be educators, speech language pathologists, and recreation therapists.

I believe there is much value in collaborating with related professions. Because of this, I was very excited to see that one of my internship assignments was to observe three professionals working in related professions. In the past 20 weeks of my internship, I’ve had the opportunity to observe a physical therapist, an art therapist, and an educator in a pediatric medical setting.

Physical Therapy

The first professional I observed was a physical therapist at St. John’s Children’s Hospital. I observed the physical therapist work with a patient who was post-surgery and also had developmental delays. It was interesting to watch the exercises the physical therapist did with the patient. Additionally, it was great to observe how the physical therapist interacted with the patient. Even though the patient had limited communication, the physical therapist was very good at asking questions that the patient could answer and still was very conversational with the patient.

This opened my eyes on how music therapy could support a physical therapist’s work with a patient. To encourage motor movement instrument play could used. An example of this would be using a drum to encourage the patient to reach and extend their arm. Additionally, the movements of the exercise could be written into a song or choreographed to the patient’s preferred music.

Art Therapy

The second professional I observed was an art therapist at the Hope Learning Academy. I was extremely excited to observe art therapy sessions. I’ve heard and read a lot about art therapy, but have not had the chance to meet an art therapist or observe art therapy sessions. I observed the art therapist lead one individual session and two group sessions with students at the Hope Learning Academy. I was surprised to see that the art therapist was covering a similar topic that my supervisor and I have been covering during our group music therapy sessions at Hope.

This inspired me to think about how a music therapist could continue to collaborate with an art therapist at the in an educational setting. There could be possibilities of collaboration during individual sessions with music and art interventions. Additionally, we could purposely align some of the topics in our respective sessions.

Education Services

The final professional I observed was an educator with the education services at St. John’s Children’s Hospital. I was familiar with the educator at St. John’s as she is another member of the St. John’s Children’s Hospital Creative Art Therapies Team. My supervisor and I cross paths with her often and I have seen her work from a far, so I was excited to directly observe her work. During patient interactions, the educator would ask patients about what they were doing in school and if they had any school work they needed help with while hospitalized. Additionally, the educator gave out developmentally appropriate books, activities, and toys to patients of all ages. 

With educational services, music therapy can support their work by reviewing academic skills during our sessions. Additionally, music therapists can make patients aware of tutoring service and make patient referrals to the educator.

Overall, I am glad I had the opportunity to observe these related professions. It gave me much food for thought on how we can support and work with these related services to best serve our clients, students, and patients. I look forward to possible collaborations with related professional in the future.