Music classes may be a hobby or form of entertainment for the average child, but it is therapy for hearing-impaired children.
Hearing impairment is the most common disability in Taiwan. Every year, 250-500 infants are diagnosed with severe hearing impairment at birth. In most cases, these children lack access to social services. The association therefore launched its free music therapy program in 1997 for hearing-impaired children between the ages of four and 12. The program is based on the Orff Approach, which combines music, movement, drama, speech and improvisation.
Through hearing aids or cochlear implants, hearing-impaired children are introduced to a brand new world. Long-term hearing and speech therapy is needed, however, for these children to develop satisfactory communication skills.
Our music therapy program exposes children to instrument vibrations, low and high audio frequencies, and fast and slow rhythms. In the beginning, music is nothing more than unpleasant noise to them. Through continuous exposure to music, they grow more sensitive to sound and develop a sense of rhythm and timing. Eager to catch every word their teacher says, they also become more focused and attentive. Over time, their expressive communication skills improve significantly.
We currently have 35 classes in Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Kaohsiung, Taitung and Hualien. We are in the process of expanding the program to eastern Taiwan, which suffers from a lack of resources.
The “Defending Hope and Composing Dreams” Plan
A monthly donation of NT$ 500 will give a child the opportunity to take part in this special program and develop in ways that will prove invaluable to his or her future.
1. This program is open to hearing-impaired children between the ages of four and 12. The child must have a government-issued Physical and Mental Disability Handbook or hospital-issued Certificate of Diagnosis.
2. Class size is limited to six students per class.
3. Classes are available in Taipei, Taoyuan,Taichung,Kaohsiung,Taitung and Hualien
Mother of Wei-wei
As the mom of a hearing-impaired child, I've had my ups and downs. Apart from meeting my child's day-to-day needs, I wanted to provide him with a happy childhood and learning environment. Wei-wei was misdiagnosed as hyperactive early on.
Because he liked to drum on things, we signed him up for a percussion group. However, the teacher deemed him “unsuitable” for the class and wouldn't let him stay in the group. I was at a loss. Eventually, I came up with the notion of signing him up for a music class. It seemed like fate when I came across a sign-up sheet for the association's music class for hearing-impaired children.
The class provides children with an engaging, pressure-free environment to speak, sing, play games, and tell stories. Children develop an interest in music under the guidance of patient, professional teachers. Over time, they develop a sense of musicality and rhythm. Apart from the songs he learned in class, Wei-wei discovered he was able to play television theme songs on his flute just from hearing them a few times. From then on, music took root in our house.
When Wei-wei first started attending the class, I didn't have expectations that music would become a great achievement for him. I only hoped that he could happily learn and grow in the class. A child's happiness is a family's joy. Before Wei-wei entered the program, no one in our family had any understanding of music. Today, he is our family musician. The sound of his music and laughter is literally music to our ears.