- July 20, 2021
-- A world-class music education center is coming to Southwest Florida. A partnership initiative with the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs, the Southwest Florida Music Education Center (SWFLMEC) provides music education and life skills development for neurodivergent young adults. SWFLMEC will be one of only a few music education programs available to such students in the United States.
"It is well documented that most neurodivergent young adults face significant challenges when preparing for higher education and the workforce," said Rob Moher, Founder and Board Chair of SWFLMEC. "Currently, there are few programs designed to fill this gap anywhere in the United States, and we are fortunate to partner with the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs to develop a high-quality music education program for neurodivergent young adults in Southwest Florida. By providing state-of-the-
art holistic music education and mentoring, we are preparing students for meaningful growth opportunities while creating a pathway toward social integration, employment and enrichment."
SWFLMEC has hired Jennifer Clark to serve as the organization's vice president to oversee operations, marketing, development and strategic initiatives. Clark, a graduate of the University of Florida and Leadership Collier class of 2021, brings wide-ranging experience from several Southwest Florida nonprofits and excels in nonprofit leadership and community impact.
The 501(c)3 nonprofit will provide comprehensive music education for neurodivergent individuals such as those with autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, social pragmatic communication disorder and anxiety-related disorders in the context of neurodiversity. At the time of enrollment, students must be ages 16 to 30 with low to moderate support needs and must demonstrate mostly independent self-care skills. Students should also possess intermediate level or higher music skills on one or more instrument(s)
, including voice, percussion, strings, guitar and piano/keyboard.
"As a catalyst for the inclusion of people with disabilities in visual and performing arts education, we at the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs are excited about our partnership with SWFLMEC," said Dr. Rhoda Bernard, Founding Managing Director of the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs. "We are particularly looking forward to bringing our internationally renowned professional development programs and initiatives to local educators in Florida in order to better prepare and support them in reaching students with autism and related anxiety and language disorders in the music classroom, studio and ensemble setting."
Read more: swflmusic.org