MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Music therapy has been known to help reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure and cortisol in the body. It was with this in mind that the Meridian Symphony Association began the Healing Harmonies program.

Originally started to help Dementia and Alzheimer patients, they are now expanding to help special need families.

“So, with the Healing Harmonies program, we are wanting to show people the healing properties of music, provide those services and hopefully educate caregivers and loved ones on how they can also utilize music in a healing capacity without the use of a professional.” Said Jewel Lynn Shirley, the music therapist that facilitates the program.

One way they are doing this is by partnering with The Spot to host a series of three Weekend Wellness Workshops specifically for families of those with special needs.

“They’re intended to provide relaxation, community support, and teach skills and tools to parents or caregivers to be able to use, to help manage their own stress, recognize the stress when it’s happening, and hopefully alleviate some perceived pressure that they feel.” Said Shirley

These workshops will take place at MSU Meridians Dean building on Saturdays, April 22nd, May 20th, and June 17th. There are a total of 20 spots available for these workshops.

Shirley continued “The idea is that you attend all three and they all build upon one another. We’re going to use the healing properties of music to help you understand how to lower your stress through breathing deeply and other relaxation techniques.”

We asked Candice Coker, mom of a special needs child and President of The Spot: A Special Place For Others To Thrive, what it meant to her to have this kind of support for people in her situation.

“This is a unique experience, one I haven’t participated in as a mom, or even as an advocate. There are not as many opportunities for the caregiver; for the parent or whatever role you play in someone’s life. It’s a little scary to be that vulnerable with a group of people you don’t know. But part of what The Spot wants to do is create community, not only for the special needs individual but for the family unit as a whole. The truth is that giving something to yourself will give you a refresher, and that will refresh your relationship with that loved one that you care for, that you’re pouring everything into.”

Space is limited for the workshops with only 20 slots available. The deadline to register is March 23rd.

If you would like to register, please contact The SPOT via email ([email protected]) and if you have questions please call: 601.207.0680

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