Music Therapy for Autistic People
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Music Therapy for Autistic People

Regarding educational music therapy, our findings support a positive but small effect of educational music therapy on children with NDDs, particularly patients with ASD and/or ID. Two major limitations in the results obtained for children with ASD are noted. First, only one study used core ASD symptoms as a primary outcome (32), leading to difficulties in generalizing the results.

music therapy for autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disability that impacts cognitive, social, and sensory development (e.g., Crane, 2015; Kanner, 1943; LaGasse, 2017). Children diagnosed with ASD tend to withdraw from physical or social contact, and demonstrate a limited capacity to understand social cues (e.g., Edgerton, 1994; Kim, Wigram, & Gold, 2008; Lim, 2009).

Individualized Approaches

This classic nursery rhyme is one of the autism calming music that is soothing and calming. It can also help children with ASD learn new words such as star, up, moon, and sky and improve their receptive language skills. It can also help them follow motor behaviors such as opening and closing their hands for fine motor skills. Music therapists may use various instruments, such as drums or shakers, to create rhythmic patterns and encourage individuals with autism to imitate or respond to the beat.

While playing instruments, the child learns to look towards the therapist and listen to the structured melodies and rhythms being created (Aigen, 2001; Gold et al., 2006; Kim et al., 2008; Spiro & Himberg, 2016). For example, music therapists can collaborate with speech-language pathologists to incorporate specific speech and language targets into music therapy sessions. They can also work with occupational therapists to address sensory sensitivities through music-based activities.

Goally Apps To Support Child Development

Supporting social functions was probably an important adaptive function of music in human evolution of humans (5). Despite their socioemotional impairment in everyday life, individuals with ASD have nearly normal abilities to recognize, experience and process emotional aspects of music (6). While listening to happy or sad music, individuals with ASD show activations in cortical and subcortical brain regions that are known to be deficient in this patient group with regard to nonmusical emotional stimuli (6).

Music Therapy and Children with Autism

ASD is a lifelong condition and is normally diagnosed at age 2 or 3; however,  signs of Autism can be detected as early as 18 months. It is important to understand that there is no one type of Autism, but many subtypes. These subtypes are most likely influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Read more about piano lessons for special needs here. Additionally, Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning each person with Autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges.

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