The Ofakim School is a school for students with complex physical disabilities (cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy) between the ages of 13 and 21. The school has approximately 100 students from Haifa and its surroundings. The school believes that students with physical disabilities need reinforcement in all aspects of their lives in an integrated manner in the academic, functional and socio-emotional domains.
Music therapy has also proved effective in treating children with complex physical disabilities. In light of their communicative and physical disabilities, music enables an alternative channel of communication. Music serves as a means of empowering the learner, as well as helping to express feelings, enabling students to connect with each other on the basis of the joint creation.We would like to establish a music center using musical instruments equipped with assistive technology, since conventional musical instruments are not suitable for students who suffer from physical disabilities that greatly limit their range of activity. In the music center we seek to provide students with the technological means of making music from the world’s most innovative musicians, thus ensuring that the center will serve as a unique therapeutic tool with agreeable visual and vocal feedback. The uniqueness of the center is that everyone can participate, even if he has no musical background, can just move one finger or only communicate with facial movements. Personalizing the type of treatment for each student encourages motivation and makes the therapy an enjoyable activity. Various cognitive aspects can be practiced in the center, such as stimulating memory by using a musical instrument that includes colored lamps enabling the identification of color or sound, or the practice of working attentively in a group in order to create a harmonious sound at the appropriate pace. You can also practice and develop both fine and gross motor movement, gentle finger movements and activate facial muscles.In addition, the music center will provide opportunities to improve mobility and strengthen muscles, with the help of support frames and walkers that can facilitate playing an instrument, thus increasing the motivation and enjoyment of the activity. The center will also provide a space for physical training in the form of a workout that includes strengthening exercises and endurance tasks based on a personal program pre-adapted to the rhythm of the music and the participant’s abilities.
We would like to establish the music center in an existing classroom of about 30 square meters on the second floor of the school.
Construction of the center: In order to convert the center, an acoustic ceiling must be installed, acoustic walls constructed to insulate against outside noise and echo, an insulated carpet laid down to prevent noise disturbance between centers and to improve sound quality, and a noise-isolating door. Curtains and air conditioners must be installed and an amplification system with imbedded speakers should be purchased. The cost of construction of the center is estimated at $20,000. Equipping the center:We would like to purchase the following equipment: 10 iPads with musical software, a Looper (musical effects processor); a professional audio computer for musical editing; an electronic drum system; two Skoog music cubes – customizable electronic musical instruments (koogmusic.com/specialeducation); A Beamz – a laser based instrument powered by body movements (thebeamz.com/schools/therapy); a bass guitar with an amplifier for the teacher to accompany; 6 standing microphones; 10 wireless ‘’one-ear’’ headphones; an amplification system and 10-channel mixer; a computer table and chair and two cupboards for storage. The cost of the equipment is estimated at $25,000. We believe that this innovative and well designed music center will provide students with the joy of creativity and enhance their sense of personal ability. We thank you for your willingness to consider supporting the welfare of the Ofakim school students.
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