Champion Centre

The Christchurch Early Intervention Trust (The Champion Centre) received one of six Grace Gives New Zealand grants in 2017 to continue to develop world-renowned programmes and services to assist children with various special needs.

The centre has already helped more than 1,700 children and their families with specially developed learning programs that cater for premature birth complications, cerebral palsy, and traumatic brain injury.

Christchurch Branch Manager, Tony Thomas, and Customer Service Coordinator, Sally Benham, were hosted at The Champion Centre, by Director Dr Susan Foster-Cohen earlier this month. The Champion Centre’s Grace Gives grant went towards funding their music programme for special needs children and their families.

Eve Nissen, Development Manager for The Champion Centre, says the music program helps in the following ways:

  • Assisting parents to use music in calming or arousing their child as needed
  • Parents learn how to get their child to follow directions with musical cues
  • Developmental assistance for children, related to movement, language or intellectual cognition

At the music sessions, children and their families explore personalised action songs, match musical patterns, explore the textures of sounds and strengthen rhythmic identification and confidence building.

Children and their families are encouraged to use tools from the program to assist children when getting dressed, brushing teeth, counting, colour differentiation, and understanding the difference between loud and soft and fast and slow. All of these skills help children and their families by enriching their everyday lives and abilities to engage with the world around them.

The Champion Centre is praised by parents who believe programs like the music sessions gives them hope about the lives their children can grow up to lead.

For more information on The Champion Centre, visit their website at