Music therapy works on the basis of the concept that any individual irrespective of age and ability has the potential to respond to music and sound, which in turn contributes remarkably to the improvements in their behavior and emotional well-being by managing stress, developing communication and enhancing memory. It makes use of the magic of singing and live music compositions to motivate people to take part in inspiring and natural musical activities. Trained music therapists use various tuned instruments or their voices to conduct creative and interactive musical sessions.
Several studies have shown that music therapy can have tremendous impact on children and teens with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It can contribute immensely in developing social behaviors, developing communication skills, improving focus and attention, easing stress and anxiety and improving body coordination. In many cases it has been found that autistic children and teens respond well to music at times when almost everything else fails to grab their attention. This makes the music an effective therapeutic technique in their treatment.
Let us discuss some of the aspects that help music therapists treat children with autism.
- Some recent studies have shown that autistic children are capable of exhibiting a better level of social interaction during music therapy sessions than during play activities that are devoid of music. The children are also found to be more responsive to the therapist and more emotionally expressive during these music therapy gatherings.
- Studies have shown that music therapy helps remarkably in improving the overall behavior in children with autism. Children suffering from inattentive behavior like aggression, restlessness, etc. has been noticed to spend hours in long music therapy sessions without difficulty. A considerable improvement is found in most of the children after these sessions.
- Around thirty-percent of autistic children are non-verbal, and have trouble understanding verbal instructions. They also lack social awareness, which makes it extremely difficult for them to understand body languages. Expert music therapists combine music with actions to connect the auditory and motor sections of the brain that in turn helps in enhancing the understanding of verbal communication. Also, the combination of music with action along with vigorous and repetitive training helps in improving the brain paths required to speak.
- Due to the incapability to push out provoking stimuli, autistic children are prone to higher levels of anxiety and stress than normal children. Studies have shown that children who are subjected to small music therapy sessions with rhythmic music exhibit reduced stress related behaviors. To ease out the stress and anxiety in children with autism the best is considered classical music or something with a steady rhythm owing to the consistency and predictability of the beat.
- The most significant way music therapy helps autistic children is by engaging them in activities that they thoroughly enjoy. Autistic children find it extremely easy to engage in musical sessions, which do not seem to be any kind of work to them. They can probably be best reached out and stimulated by musical rhythms than anything else.