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Young Sophia benefits from Primary Children's Hospital dance, music therapy program

Primary Children’s hospital offers a music and arts program for kids to help them get through their toughest battles during hospital stays. (KSL-TV)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — It's been proven, kids are empowered through music and art therapies to manage pain, express emotion, and keep a positive attitude during a hospital stay.

As part of KSL's Primary Children's Give-A-Thon campaign, KSL-TV met a patient named Sophia who has benefited from both dance and music therapy at the hospital.

Sophia is 14 years old, and Primary Children's Hospital has been a part of her life from the very beginning.

"Before she was born, we knew that she was going to come with some issues," said her dad, Nelson Mousques.

She loves music, dance and interacting with people.

"She has a terminal heart disease, which is hypoplastic left melon syndrome," her father described. "So, only a two-chamber heart, instead of four-chambered heart."

When she was only three weeks old, she had her first heart surgery.

Since then, multiple other procedures have followed.

"She wore oxygen 100% of the time for the first three years of her life," her dad said.

At four and half years old, they got a heart-breaking diagnosis.

"She was hit with leukemia the first time," her mother, Claudia Mousques, said. "Chemotherapy was really hard on her."

"She went septic that first week," Nelson explained. "Infection went to her brain, created a couple abscesses on her brain, so it was, it was tough."

Claudia explained, "She was having a hard time. So, I say, what about we call music therapy, you know, kind of to make her feel a little bit better because she was miserable."

Sophia loved it!

"The nurse just came, took her temperature and her temperature came down. "Like, it was like wow, we need this therapy every single day," said Claudia.

"Primary Children's is so special in that the music, art and dance therapists work together to sculpt an experience for a kid," said Tawna Halbert, a dance movement therapist. "And every kid is different."

In May, Sophia's family got some very difficult news.

"They said that the leukemia has come back," Nelson said.

During her current treatments, dance and music therapy continue to make a difference for Sophia.

Halbert said, "As a dance movement therapist, we're helping kids process their experience in a very natural way. So, it's replacing that like, fight or flight with relaxation and creativity and joy."

"We are so grateful for them. We are more than grateful to have those resources, right here in the hospital, and it's been great for Sophia," Claudia added. "Music therapy, dance therapy really have a huge impact in her health most of the time."

Nelson asked Sophia, "You like dancing?"

"Yes!" Sophia answered.

"You like singing? You think you love it," he said smiling.

Once again, Sophie said, "Yes!"

"For them to have scheduled moments every day where they can experience joy is, is really beautiful," Tawna explained. "It gives them a space to feel heard and to feel frustrated and to feel angry, and we can process that together."

Claudia turned to Sophia, "Do you want to say thank you?"

Sophia answered, "Thank you."

The dance, art and music therapy programs are made possible and funded by generous donations from the community.

As part of our Give-A-Thon campaign for the hospital, you are able to make a difference for children like Sophia.

You can donate by clicking here.

KSL-TV Staff

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