Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona (NMTSA)

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Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona (NMTSA) is committed to changing the lives of individuals with disabilities through innovative and dynamic programs, education, and collaborations.

Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) is an advanced form of music therapy that uses research-based techniques to treat the brain using music and rhythm. NMT uses these techniques to achieve non-musical goals such as speech, physical movement, cognition and other conditions of the nervous system. By addressing autism at the brain level, NMT can positively affect the skills and abilities a person with autism needs to be independent, to meaningfully relate to others, and to truly demonstrate their competence.

While general music therapy seeks to treat many different aspects of patient need (emotional, physical, mental, etc.) through playing or writing music, Neurologic Music Therapy focuses specifically on music and rhythm’s physical affect on the brain and brain connections (called neuropathways) through specific reasearch-based techniques (called NMT interventions). NMT interventions are applied in a consistent manner based on the therapeutic goal of the client.

Neurologic Music Therapists are required to have completed additional training above and beyond standard music therapy certification in order to maintain their NMT designation.

NMTSA provides individualized treatment for their autistic clients, although most treatment programs are based on some common techniques, such as:
  • Movement paired with rhythm — can help develop new sensory and motor brain connections, which improves body awareness and motor control, as well as eliminating nonfunctional motor behaviors.
  • Singing, instrument playing, and other verbal/vocal exercises — often used to develop speech, language, and communication skills.


Individualized Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) Sessions

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The core service NMTSA offers are individualized NMT sessions. Most often these are weekly, hour-long, one-on-one sessions with the client’s regular NMTSA therapist. A new client will begin the process through an assessment after which the therapist will create a specialized treatment plan complete with therapeutic goals derived from the assessment session as well as parent/caregiver input. Regular sessions will then commence and the treatment plan is updated and evaluated on a regular basis.

If you want to learn more about these treatments, arrangements may be made to observe an NMT session. NMTSA has live video observation capabilities so that parents, caregivers or other therapy professionals can observe a session without interrupting the process. To arrange an observation session, call NMTSA at 602-840-6410 and speak with their Clinical Coordinator, or e-mail

For more information about the research and development of NMT, read Rhythm, Music, and the Brain: Scientific Foundations and Clinical Applications (Studies on New Music Research) by Dr. Michael Thaut, available on

Assuming Competence Today/ACT School

The ACT School (Assuming Competence Today) is a Private Day School committed to helping autistic and other developmentally disabled individuals receive an appropriate education and achieve rich and meaningful relationships with confidence and independence. To this end, ACT School strives to:
  • Expose students to grade level academics.
  • Teach students how to accept and provide sensory support necessary for them to have functional movement in their everyday lives.
  • Teach students how to functionally communicate in a variety of ways, including universal and individualized methods.
  • Successfully transition students to a general education classroom at a school in their home district.
  • Teach and train district staff on the philosophy and methods used to properly support the student in the classroom.
  • Teach families of students with autism how to help promote independence through appropriate individual communication and sensory support at home and in the community.

Download the 2013-2014 ACT School brochure to find out more.