Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Music therapy is a specialized approach that utilizes the therapeutic properties of music to address the unique needs and challenges faced by autistic children. It is conducted by certified music therapists who have the expertise to design, implement, and evaluate music-based interventions.

For individuals with autism, music therapy can be particularly helpful in addressing communication difficulties, social interaction challenges, and sensory processing issues. The effectiveness of music therapy can vary from person to person, based on their specific needs and responses to music. However, numerous studies have shown that music therapy can bring about significant improvements in various areas of development for many individuals with autism. Key interventions in music therapy for autism include the use of rhythmic patterns, singing, and musical instruments. These methods help in improving a variety of skills and contribute to overall development. Improvisation is a music therapy technique that involves creating music in the moment, without predetermined plans or structures.

music therapy for autism

Improvisation can be a powerful tool, as it provides a structured and predictable environment for exploration and expression. Music therapists can use improvisation to encourage individuals with autism to experiment with different sounds and musical ideas, develop their creativity, and enhance their self-expression. It’s been shown that music therapy improves attention, memory, and problem-solving in individuals with autism. Using music-based activities, therapists can improve attention and memory by encouraging an individual to engage in activities that require focused attention and memory recall. Music therapy can also stimulate problem-solving and decision-making skills by encouraging individuals to create and explore music in new and creative ways.

Music therapy techniques are initially aimed at decreasing these behaviours, or breaking these stereotyped motility patterns. Rhythmic activities and movement to music at tempi other than that of body rocking, for instance, can be helpful in this regard (Thaut, 1984). Soraci, Deckner, McDaniel, & Blanton (1982) found that music possessing particular rhythmic characteristics was effective in reducing stereotypic behaviours. The music therapist can also structure the musical experience to ensure that movement responses to music are adaptive and nonrepetitive in nature (Nelson, et al., 1984). Activities and techniques incorporating music stimuli play potentially rich and varied roles in therapy for persons with autism. Read more about autism piano lessons here. Music intonation therapy is a type of music therapy that uses music and melody to help people with autism improve their speech.

How you can improve focus using music:

This form of therapy has been found to have unique outcomes often unachievable with other types of therapy. While you can learn to deal with your special child’s meltdowns and sensory sensitivity, there’s a part of you that will always be looking for ways to bond with your little one. But the reality is that as much as you may want to know what’s really on your child’s mind, autism often gets in in the way of heart-to-hearts and hugs. Three separate experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of contingent music in teaching social skills. The use of contingent music in teaching social skills to a nonverbal hyperactive boy. Functional communication difficulties for persons with autism seem to lie fundamentally in the inability to manipulate symbols or symbolic representations (Nelson, et al., 1984).

Characteristics of the included studies

These are just two of the many stories about how music therapy has helped some autistic children and adults build communication skills, interact socially, and express emotions. Music therapists use a variety of musical activities to teach children with autism new skills and behaviors. Many children on the autism spectrum have difficulties with social interaction, interpreting other people’s behaviors, and knowing how to act around others. Music can be used to enhance social skills, like taking initiative, making eye contact, sharing, and waiting for a turn. This form of therapy teaches children how to participate in activities in more appropriate and socially acceptable ways. Music therapy is an evidence-based approach where music is used to teach new physical, cognitive, emotional, and social skills and build upon existing ones in children and adults with special needs.

Music therapy in the treatment of an autistic child

This is supported by the scientific research which has found that music can be beneficial for supporting the social skills of people with autism. There are several strategies that can be employed to address the challenges and limitations of using music therapy for individuals with autism. One approach is to work closely with a trained music therapist who has experience working with individuals on the autism spectrum.

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