Shine a light on Cumberland Academy of Georgia


Cumberland Academy of Georgia is a private school that specializes in the needs of children with high-functioning Autism, Asperger’s, ADD, ADHD, and other learning disabilities. They are located in Sandy Springs, Georgia, tucked away in a beautiful location off of Mount Vernon Highway. The George Center for Music Therapy, Inc. is excited to partner with Cumberland to offer “Music Enrichment” as a class to the students. We have five classes there, Monday to Thursday, being provided to their “Pioneers” (5th graders) and “Navigators” (6th, 7th, 8th grade).


Matthew and Debbi Scarborough founded Cumberland Academy after their son, Steven, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, for so long struggled in a regular school environment. The Scarboroughs felt it important that students like Steven have a place where they receive academic education, but also are equipped to be successful adults, despite social challenges. After a lot of hard work, Cumberland Academy opened its doors in 2007 and has been immensely successful since then.

[caption id="attachment_7495" align="aligncenter" width="704"] Bucket Drumming at Cumberland with Ms. Melissa[/caption]

Since Cumberland was founded, it has sought to not only offer academic education, but also to teach and provide their students with skills that help them be successful as they grow into adulthood. These skills include problem solving, critical thinking, decision-making, social skills, and dealing with stress, anxiety, and anger, among others. Cumberland is staffed with incredible teachers, counselors, and other staff who have Special Education degrees and many of whom have advanced education and training. This staff is committed to the success and development of the students, even when there are many challenges. They create a warm and welcoming environment that is felt by every student and parent (and music therapist!) who walks through the doors. Truly, Cumberland is a unique and wonderful school.


In staying in step with the mission and philosophy of Cumberland, the Music Enrichment class focuses on developing life and social skills as well. We do activities such as music listening, bucket drumming, music and sequencing, songwriting, instrument play, teamwork games and improvisation that facilitate in the development of social skills, executive functioning skills, and cognitive skills, such as focused attention. Music therapy has been a wonderful tool for developing self-awareness and awareness of others and the students’ focused attention improves seemingly every week. It is a joy to be able to partner with this school and create music with its students, and we look forward to what the rest of the semester will hold!