Most of us associate music with a jamming session with friends, blasting the radio while driving, swaying to it at a party, or just hanging out in our rooms while our favorite song plays in the background.
As much as music helps us with our everyday tasks, for some people, their survival depends on it.
Children within the Autism Spectrum can benefit wholly with music therapy. A study conducted by Journal of Music Therapy discovered that Music Therapy indeed can support emotional, cognitive, and social development in autistic children and teens.
Research studies continue to support the need for of Music Therapy interventions in the lives of autistic children.
Children within the Autism Spectrum experience anxiety more intensely and more frequently than other anxiety patients. It is often overstimulation that triggers anxiety attacks, and it can take a while to pacify them. Studies have shown that Music Therapy interventions custom tailored to the clients’ musical preferences can help reduce tension, and ease anxiety in autistic patients.
Autistic children struggle with communication on different levels. Those who are non-verbal have to face an especially hard time since they can’t express what they are feeling, their needs, or their wants.
To these children, musical instruments provide an avenue for self-expression. It doesn’t exactly have to be words per se, but a conversation carried out in form of a piano playing session or playing a drum is still a form of communication.
An Music Therapist gauges the mood and emotions of their clients based on the way they play their instruments. Emotions such as anger, happiness, frustration, excitement can be expressed with music, and autistic children get a chance to do that.
Close observation has showed that autistic children express much more feelings and emotions during play sessions that involve music, than sessions that don’t. It was also noted that these wider array of emotions brought forth their interactive behavior.
Autistic children, in general, face an incredibly hard time with social interactions. However, once they develop their social skills, it lasts them a lifetime. Hence, it is encouraged as a way to motivate and help autistic children to work on their social skills at an earlier age and Music Therapy is one of the best ways to do that.
Music is multi-sensory and teases various senses at once. Making music encourages autistic children to listen, touch, and look at the same time, enhancing their motor coordination. It also encourages them to use their fine motor skills.
Various studies have shown that it is not just our left brain that recognizes music, instead, our whole brain engages in it. Listening alone activates the neural networks that are responsible for motor control.
For autistic children, paying attention and focusing on a single task can be hard work at times. It is not as easy for them to filter distractions as it is for other children. Bright lights or loud noises can easily distract them.
Music Therapy has shown to improve focus in autistic children by keeping them engaged for a long time.
Music therapy brings another thing into the mix, a chance to find common grounds with other children. If started at the right time, music therapy can help autistic children develop their skills to the point of leading completely much more normal life than they would have otherwise.