Authors: Louise Docherty, VIC, Donna Berthelsen, Jan Nicholson, Carolyn Hart, Vicky Abad, and Kate Williams, QLD
Event: 2007 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Parents, infants, children, EARLY INTERVENTION STRATEGIES, EARLY INTERVENTION, PARENT ENGAGEMENT, MUSIC THERAPY
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Sing & Grow is a music therapy intervention targeting marginalised parents and their children aged 0-3 years. It uses group music and song-based activities as an enjoyable, non-threatening approach for engaging parents and teaching appropriate parenting skills. An independent evaluation is examining its effectiveness for immediate (pre-post) and 3-month impact on parenting skills and efficacy, children’s social and emotional development, and parent mental health. This paper aims to introduce the program and present early outcome data from the evaluation. Data were collected from parent self-report questionnaires, therapist observations and records. Results are from 683 families attending 63 group programs, across a range of vulnerabilities. Pre-post analyses revealed statistically significant reduction in self-reported angry-coercive parenting interactions and parent mental health symptoms, with a trend for improvement in parenting self-efficacy (p=.055). Improvements in parent-reported parent responsiveness and child outcomes were non-significant despite therapist observations indicating strong pre to post improvements. Compared to pre, more parents at post reported that: their child was easy to soothe (47% vs. 61%); they were good at calming their child (78% vs. 88%) and good at keeping their child amused (62% vs. 72%). The implications for early life child and parent mental health will be discussed.