DIRFloortime and Music Therapy

Hi all,

Recently I was invited to be interviewed by Daria Brown, Founder of Affect Autism on Floortime and Music Therapy. This came on the heels of a research article that I had recently published, Investigating the Effectiveness of a DIRFloortime-based Improvisational Music Therapy Program on Communication for Children with ASD.

Daria he offered me a wonderful opportunity to share the clinical work and research that we have been doing at The Rebecca Center for Music Therapy at Molly College and Developmental Music Health. The interview discusses the process of creating this hybrid model of DIR-based music therapy and goes into clinical storytelling of the model in action. Furthermore, we engaged in  interesting conversations surrounding the topical areas of individual-differences manifesting in musical-play, functional emotional targets in music therapy, music and musical skills related to ASD, trends in Developmental vs. behavioral intervention research, as well as the differences between conventional music education and music therapy.

To see and hear the interview please visit Developmental Music Health 

Thanks for reading!



Parents: A Developmental Perspective

Hi all,

This new blog post is written by Melanie Feller, M.A., CCC-SLP. Melanie is a Speech and Language Pathologist and DIRFloortime practitioner. Her post discusses some differences between ABA and DIR via a the parent perspective. If you have have questions or would like to express suggestion or thoughts, please do so here and/or email Melanie.

Parents: A Developmental Perspective

As music therapists and as speech therapists (and as many other types of therapeutic practitioners) we frequently find ourselves meeting concerned parents. Perhaps the parent who is concerned about their child’s overall development or the parent who is worried that they don’t know how to help their child. Perhaps the parent who feels like they have no relationship with their child. Sometimes we may be the first step, when the parent has heard about the benefits of DIRFloortime, and sometimes we may be the last, when the parent decides that ABA simply isn’t working. But either way, we frequently meet a parent who shares they feel a bit (or very) overwhelmed, and they don’t really feel like they have the tools with which to support their child.

Behavioral therapy suggests leaving the parent out of the equation (and many parents will attest to this – i.e. therapy taking place behind closed doors, parental involvement eschewed) unless it is to train the parent on how to follow through on ABA principles taught in session. Following directions and using scripted words to request are frequent goals. Compliance and “fitting in” are paramount.

Therapy from a developmental perspective however suggests this behavioral focus is misplaced.

The DIRFloortime perspective is one that places great emphasis on the relationship between parent and child, with specific focus on each and every individual difference. This focus allows us to understand each child and parent as unique individuals, and enables us to look at families and children from a strength based perspective, instead of one of deficit. This focus allows us to support, never “fix.”

“We’re taking a developmental focus on family functioning because our interest is in infancy and early childhood and also childhood itself; so it’s natural to take a developmental focus.” (Greenspan, 2007)

A developmental focus stresses that families are the driving force behind the growth and development of their loved one with developmental challenges. This focus stresses the relationship with the parent, above virtually all else.

We know a developmental perspective works. We know it is child and family friendly. We know it is cost-effective. We know that the body of evidence behind DIRFloortime continues to grow. And more than anything, we know that it is respectful of both parent and child.

“Just as parents of typically developing children are their first and most profoundly effective teachers, parents of children with developmental, communicative, and relational disorders are as well.” (Shahmoon-Shanok, ICDL Clinical Practice Guidelines Chapter 14).

Knowing this, it is then our obligation to support the parents and families we work with. It is our obligation to offer the parent the tools they need to feel more competent, more able, and more secure. These tools could include supporting the parent in understanding how to meet their child where the child is, and how to gently join in, and perhaps gently bring that child, slowly, bit-by-bit, into a shared world. Perhaps how to woo their child into an affective engagement, through tickles or a gentle back and forth non-verbal exchange, or through a game of spinning an object together.

Through such tools we strive to foster the parent/child relationship. We strive to empower, to support, and to educate. We remind the parent that they know their child best of all. Because we know that the crux of real support, the crux of warm, affective relationships, and the crux of respectful, effective therapy lies not within ourselves as therapists, but within the parent.

Melanie Feller, M.A., CCC-SLP, DIRFloortime Certified


EMAIL: loveofspeech@gmail.com

WEBSITE: alphabetsoupspeech.com

Banishment from the Early Childhood Music Therapy Network Facebook page

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I want to thank you for your supportive replies and private messages regarding the deletion of my posts and subsequent banishment from the Early Childhood Music Therapy Network Facebook page. Regardless of whether or not one agrees with the opinions that I have expressed there, it should be possible to engage in a reasoned and respectful scholarly debate about treatment issues of such great importance to the profession of music therapy and, more importantly, to the clients who benefit from our services. This embracing of various viewpoints is especially important within a group that was an outgrowth of efforts within the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).

I am currently formulating a more formal response to this situation and I would appreciate your support when that response is made public. It is neither ethical nor collegial to use one’s official capacity to privilege certain forms of treatment over others. This is a vital issue that affects all of us, regardless of our areas of clinical work.

Thanks again,

John Carpente

Learning Co-Regulation & Interaction…What Comes First?

Raging ToddlerHi all,

The question of what comes first, co-regulation or interaction was inspired by a conversation that I had with music therapy colleague regarding helping a child, who has difficulty modulating his emotions, maintain reciprocal interactions for a sustain period of time. Here’s the short of it: (To read more, please CLICK…)

Teaching Behaviors in Music Making? Learning and Developing in Relational Musicing

williampic-2Hi all,

This blog post includes some immediate and brief thoughts regarding the clinical rationale of back-and-forth relational music making between client and therapist. In addition, it touches on the importance of  contextualizing music therapy experineces within a relationship-based framework, as well as emphasizing  the significance of affective-based interactions. To read this post please visit our NEW site:  www.DMHmusictherapy.com




35 CMTE Credits: Expand your Assessment Skills within a Developmental Relationship-based Music Therapy Model

IMG_0686Hi all,

Expand your Assessment Skills within a Developmental Relationship-based Music Therapy Model. The last IMCAP-ND course of 2014 is being held at Radford University on October 24th & 25th. EARLY BIRD Registration ends on SEPTEMBER 15TH!

Are you interested in learning more about assessment & treatment while working within a Developmental Relationship-based Music Therapy Model? Here’s an opportunity to do so while earning 35 CMTE Credits!

Click HERE for more information!



IMCAP-ND News for 2014: New CMTE Training Course at Radford University!

brain-power_620x349Hi all,

It’s been an exciting year for regarding the development of the IMCAP-ND. Currently the IMCAP-ND is undergoing inter-rater reliability pertaining to individual items, as well as scoring the rating scale as a whole. In addition, the IMCAP-ND is featured in the current  Music Therapy Perspectives in the form of a clinical article and book review. In addition, in June 2014, the IMCAP-ND manual  became available in the form of an E-book.

In regards to training, IMCAP-ND CMTE courses continues to travel throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The first course took place in at Howard Community College, Columbia, MD. Then, in August, Molloy College in Rockville, NY hosted a course.

The last IMCAP-ND CMTE course of 2014 will take place at Radford University, Radford, VA on October 24th & 25! A special thank you to Noel Anderson for intiating and organizing this course and to Jim Borling and Trish Winter for hosting the conference at Radford University. Registration for this course is now open. 

This course will provide participants with practical knowledge of administering, scoring, and interpreting IMCAP-ND evaluations. In addition, participants will learn how to formulate and write of clinical goals, treatment plans, and evaluation reports. Furthermore, an overview of the application of musical and extra-musical protocols and procedures will be discussed. Didactic and experiential learning will be used throughout the course. Clinical video excerpts will be used to illustrate concepts and procedures. In addition to the 18 CMTE credits of in-person course learning time, the course will include 17 credits of post-course assignments (35 CMTE Credits). Assignments provide participants with the opportunity to practice while integrating IMCAP-ND into their own clinical work. Assignments also provide participants with the opportunities to develop a greater understanding of interpreting and analyzing scores, formulating goals, treatment planning, and writing comprehensive reports.

Scholarships are available for this course, as well as reduced registration for individuals who would like to  audit the course.

Click HERE for more information.

For more information regarding this upcoming course email: info@DMHmusictherapy.com


Join the discussion on FaceBook

Thanks for reading!




Don’t Miss EARLY BIRD Registration for IMCAP Training in NY (Molloy College)!

mic3.jpgHi all,

Early Bird Registration for the IMCAP-ND CMTE in NY ends on July 2nd.  




1) Improvisational clinical techniques to assess music target,

2) IMCAP method of observation and scoring to create goals and plans,

3) Experience music making through role playing within a developmental lens,

4) Observing clinical videos while practicing your clinical observation skills and ability to rate musical targets,

5) Music centeredness within in the context of social-emotional skills/development,

6) Developmental relationship-based ways of working clinically, and

6) MORE…
Ask about our reduced rate for graduate students and discount rate or for those who woulld like to audit the course.

In addition, we offer partial scholarship opportunities, as well as a discounted group rate for organizations and small businesses.

Click HERE for more information and to register for this course

Click HERE to join the IMCAP-ND discussion on FaceBook

Click HERE to learn more about the IMCAP-ND Clinical Manual (Print & E-book)

Click HERE to subscribe to the NEW Developmental Music Health BLOG

Email us with any questions, info@DMHmusictherapy.com





Hi all,

I’m thrilled to announce additional IMCAP-ND CMTE Courses in New York and SW Virginia

Upcoming Training Dates & Locations:

August 1 & 2, Molloy College, NY and October 24 & 25, Radford University, VA


2-day CMTE Course with Post-Course Assignments



Interested in expanding your knowledge on:

  • clinical assessment within a Developmental Relationship-based Music Therapy Model?
  • measuring relationship-based musical responses within the context of social-emotional development?
  • creating musical experiences specifically geared towards particular musical target responses?
  • formulating measurable music-centered goals grounded in social-emotinoal skills?
  • a systemic approach to developing treatment plans, as well as communicating clinical information to families of clients as well as healthcare practitioners?

Here’s an opportunity to do all of that while EARNING 35 CMTE CREDITS!
~Auditing at a discount rate is avilable
~Discounts for groups
~Scholarship opportunities are available
Register now for early bird discount!
Click here for IMCAP-ND Course at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, NY on August 1st & 2nd

Click here for IMCAP-ND Course at Radford University, Radford, VA on October 24th & 25th

Please feel free to post any questions or email us at info@DMHmusictherapy.com


John Carpente, PhD, LCAT, MT-BC
Director & Founder, Developmental Music Health Services, LLC


The Times They are A Changin’: New Discoveries Leading to NEW Ways of Working with Children w/ASD

Hi all,

The times that have guided treatment interventions for children with ASD are certainly changing.’ But why has it been so difficult for folks to embrace this change and incorporate these new findings and discoveries into their work? Do I dare say that politics and funding play a role? Or even dare say that special interests groups/folks in the world of ASD have certain “power sources” to steer agendas? Whatever the case is, the people that are getting hurt are children and their families. They are the ones that are not being given a choice, and in turn, are not fully made aware of alternatives. They are the ones that are not being throughly educated on what the filed has to offer.

Read more…HERE