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Health  2024 

The Role of Music Therapy in Supporting Intellectually Disabled Youth in Senegal

DOI: 10.4236/health.2024.165035, PP. 521-534

Keywords: Music Therapy, Young, Intellectual Disabilities, Senegal

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Abstract:

Introduction: Music therapy is a practice for helping and supporting people with intellectual and relational difficulties. This study illustrated the benefits of music therapy for young people living with intellectual disabilities (YLID) in an African context. Methodology: This study investigated six young individuals with intellectual disabilities who had undergone three years of music therapy. They were participants in the inclusive non-academic training program at the National School of Arts in Dakar from 2017 to 2019. Data collection utilized individual interviews with the youths, evaluation grids from teachers and psychiatrists. Guardians provided informed consent along with the assent of the young participants. Results: The six young were aged between 18 and 30 years old, with an average age of 24.6 years. Four of the YLID were male. Three young people with intellectual disabilities had delayed psychomotor development. Observations revealed the beneficial influence of music therapy on the health and well-being of young individuals. Music played a role in alleviating stress and anxiety among youth with intellectual disabilities (YLID), enhancing their mood and mental health. It assisted in navigating challenging situations and heightened alertness among YLID. Additionally, music therapy contributed to improvements in dyslexia, fine and gross motor skills, and memory development among intellectually disabled youth, ultimately facilitating their integration into society. Conclusion: In light of our results, music therapy makes a major contribution to the empowerment of YLID. Engaging in musical activities helps young people connect with others through instrumental expression and a sense of accomplishment. By facilitating music therapy, it becomes possible to combat discrimination and stigmatization, thus promoting the social inclusion of intellectually disabled youth. Therefore, it is important to promote music therapy in Senegal to meet the needs of YLID.

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