Music Therapy Success – Christopher’s Story

Music Therapy Success – Christopher’s Story

Christopher Duffley’s Story

Christopher is a music therapy student at the Music School with a very special gift of music that he loves to share with others.  However, at 9 years old, he has faced challenges well beyond his years. Christopher’s biological mother abused drugs when pregnant with him. As a result, Christopher’s drug screen was positive for cocaine at birth.  He was born prematurely, and weighed only 1 pound, 12 ounces. Because of his premature birth, Christopher’s eyes did not develop properly and he was born 100% blind.  He remained in the hospital until he was five months old, then he was discharged to foster care and placed in a family with other special needs children. When Christopher was 14-months old, he was placed in the custody of his paternal aunt and uncle and was adopted a year later, living with his adoptive family in Manchester.  When Christopher was 4 years old, he received a preliminary diagnosis of autism. Last year, Christopher was officially diagnosed as Autistic.

Before coming to music therapy at the Music School, Christopher could not have conversations with others due to speech challenges, thus developing relationships was particularly challenging. Christopher was isolated from members of his own family because he could not communicate. In October of 2008, Christopher’s mom thought they would try music therapy since Christopher loves music and has an instant response to it. Since then, his life has been transformed because of music.

Christopher was born with a natural talent and gift for music. He has perfect pitch and naturally learns music and instruments quickly. Through Christopher’s music therapy at the school, he is developing basic, yet life long skills, such as the ability to have a conversation by focusing on speech and language skills through music. By writing songs together with his music therapist, Christopher is developing abstract, creative and critical thinking skills. After less than a year of music therapy, Christopher’s family ceased some of his other therapies as he is gaining more skills through the constant stimulation he gains through music.  Today, Christopher comes to the school three days a week – twice for music therapy sessions and once a week for Suzuki piano.

Recently, Christopher has been the topic of many news features across the country. Because of his newfound confidence and incredible singing ability, Christopher has been recruited to sing the National Anthem at venues throughout the country, including Fenway Park, Manchester Monarchs, NH International Speedway and the Teamsters Union flew Christopher and his family to Las Vegas to perform at their annual meeting!

Christopher’s life, and that of his family, has been transformed through the power of music.