Healing Through Music Therapy

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24-year-old Caitlin Cohrs enjoys the rhythm of the music at her music therapy session.

What Happened

Three years ago, Cohrs was crossing the street and struck by a vehicle. The accident caused two cardiac arrests that were close in time, which then resulted in the loss of oxygen to her brain.

Her hypoxic brain injury left her paralyzed and non-verbal.

“We didn’t know if we were going to lose her or not, it was very touch and go. We prayed and we’re just so grateful that we still have her in our lives,” said Caitlin’s mother, Virginia Cohrs.

Music Therapy

To help with her injuries, the DuPage Care Center – where Caitlin has been for three years – recommended music therapy.

“It’s not like a music lesson where we’re teaching them or just singing to them for entertainment. We create goals and objectives,” said Music Speaks music therapist Abigail Pabst. “With Caitlin our therapeutic goals are sensory stimulation tolerance and improved mood and relaxation.”

The DuPage Care Center and Music Speaks, have been working together for four years thanks to a grant from the DuPage Care Center Foundation.

Using Different Instruments

To help meet the therapeutic goals of residents like Caitlin, Pabst uses different instruments like the rain stick to help with visual stimulation and the big drum for vibrotactial stimulation.

When Caitlin makes good eye contact, sighs, or smiles, Pabst knows she’s enjoying her session.

After a year of therapy, Virginia has seen a difference.

“She’s got quite a startle reflex and she’s gotten so much better with that,” said Virginia. “And the way Abigail went from quiet to louder, that’s very purposeful. So Caitlin can accept and tolerate those loud noises and she’s gotten so much better with that, that’s been really good.”

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.


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