Making Music Therapy More Beneficial For Autism
Music therapy is a type of treatment that uses musical activities to assist individuals with emotional, physical and behavioral difficulties. It has often been utilized with children and adolescents with autism or other neurodevelopmental disabilities (NDDs), with results showing improvements in social behavior, attention spans, communication attempts, body awareness and coordination.
Music can be an incredibly valuable tool for autism: it encourages communication and self-expression, helps regulate emotions, and reduces anxiety. Furthermore, some autistic kids are particularly sensitive to music so it may prove especially beneficial in their development.
Classical, rhythmic and calming music are the most beneficial for autism patients. Additionally, singing the lyrics out loud rather than speaking them can make the music easier for an autistic person to process.
Another type of music which has been proven beneficial for autism is improvisational music therapy, which allows people to express their emotions through song. This form of therapy may be especially helpful for those with difficulty speaking, but it’s beneficial for all kids alike.
Improvisational music therapy entails clients and therapists working together to craft songs. For children, this can be an engaging experience as they not only learn how to craft their own compositions but also gain valuable skills in working with a therapist in this process.
Improvisational music therapy draws on a wide range of music to meet the individual needs. The therapist will select songs specifically tailored for their client base.
They might ask the person to sing along with a particular tune or write lyrics about something they need help with, such as turn-taking. Or they could even have the therapist sing different songs each time they visit. This can be an enjoyable and thrilling experience for both child and therapist, as the two of them can form bonds through music.
The therapist can help the individual connect to music by playing an instrument such as a drum or piano. Doing this helps them feel more secure and at ease in themselves, since they no longer fear making mistakes or being ridiculed for them.
Additionally, a therapist may teach them how to read music so they can recognize songs and melodies. This can be an excellent way for them to hone their skills and become more independent.
Some autistic individuals are also able to play an instrument, which can be a very rewarding experience for them and their families. This lifelong skill will enable them to use in daily life while increasing confidence and self-worth.
A 2021 review of research found that improvisational music therapy has been demonstrated to increase social functioning and reduce anxiety in teenagers with autism spectrum disorder. This finding is especially pertinent, since autism affects how kids engage with their peers.