Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause difficulties in social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviors. Music therapy is an evidence-based clinical use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. A music therapist assesses the strengths and needs of each person with ASD using a personal, musical approach to aid in areas such as social skills development, sensory integration, reducing anxiety, and increasing self-esteem and motivation.
Music therapy sessions for people with ASD are typically tailored according to the individual’s interests, abilities, and needs. The type of music used in therapy sessions may vary from person to person. Some people with ASD may respond well to fast-paced music while others might prefer slower, calming tunes. Some people with ASD may enjoy singing or playing instruments while others might prefer listening to music or moving to the beat. The key is to find what works best for each individual.
How Does Music Therapy Help Children with ASD?
Music therapy helps children with ASD in many ways. For example, music therapy can help children with ASD develop social skills by providing opportunities to interact with other people in a non-threatening environment. Music therapy can also help improve communication skills by providing opportunities to practice communicating through music. In addition, music therapy can help reduce anxiety and stress, improve mood, and promote relaxation.
What Does a Music Therapy Session Look Like?
Music therapy sessions are typically 30-60 minutes long and are conducted one-on-one or in small groups. Sessions are structured to meet the needs of each individual child. The type of music used in music therapy varies depending on the goals of the child. For example, if a child is working on developing social skills, songs with repeated choruses may be used to encourage interactions between the child and the therapist or other group members. If a child is working on reducing anxiety, slower songs with a calming effect may be used.
The Benefits of Music Therapy for Autism
Music therapy can be an effective intervention for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social skills, communication, and behavior. People with ASD often have difficulty with social interactions and may benefit from music therapy.
One study found that music therapy was associated with improved social skills in children with ASD. The children who received music therapy showed increased eye contact, vocalization, and imaginative play. They also showed decreases in repetitive behaviors.
Another study found that music therapy was associated with improved communication in children with ASD. The children who received music therapy had increases in the use of gestures and eye contact. They also had improvements in verbal communication.
How Music Therapy Works
It is not entirely clear how or why music therapy works for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). One theory is that music therapy helps engage multiple senses at once, which can be helpful for individuals with ASD who often have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). SPD is a condition that makes it difficult for the brain to process information received through the senses. This can result in difficulty tolerating certain sounds or textures, which can make everyday activities such as going to the grocery store or getting a haircut very challenging—and sometimes even painful—for people with ASD.
Autism is a complex neurological disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. Early intervention is essential for optimizing the outcomes for individuals with autism. Music therapy has shown promise as an early intervention modality for autism due to its ability to promote communication and social skills as well as reduce problem behaviors.
Music therapy is a type of therapy that uses music to achieve therapeutic goals. Music therapy and Autism can be used to improve communication, social skills, and behavior in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There is research to support the efficacy of music therapy for ASD. If you are considering music therapy for your child with ASD, please speak to your child’s physician or a music therapist to learn more about how it could help your child reach their goals.