MUSIC THERAPY WITH AUTISM
Many families are eager to explore the possibility of music therapy after they discover that their family member on the spectrum is particularly responsive to music. A recent study published in Autism Research shows that frontal connectivity is preserved when someone is singing rather than speaking to a person on the spectrum. Although the spectrum is vast and this may not apply to every person with ASD, we have seen numerous families transformed by this finding.
Much of our time is spent in individual sessions where we teach songs using language that can be generalized into situations outside of our music therapy sessions. We coach families on how to make their lives more musical. We help families feel comfortable replacing lyrics to popular songs or writing their own songs in order to enhance neural connectivity. The unique qualities of music make music therapy an especially effective treatment where socialization, communication, and other goals are embedded within each session.
For many families, we are a part of a greater team that may include allied health professionals. Please invite us to Individualized Education Plans (IEP) or team meetings and know that we are always happy to share our progress and hear about the goals and objectives of other team members.
How Music Therapy Helps
• Music captures and helps maintain attention.
• Information can be embedded in music.
• Music can enable those without language to communicate, participate and express themselves non-verbally.
• Music can stimulate communication functioning because it is processed in both hemispheres of the brain.
• Music can promote the interpersonal timing and reciprocity of turn-taking, listening, and responding to others.
• The rhythmic component of music can be very organizing for the sensory system.
• Perceptual, fine, and gross motor skills can be taught, practiced and enhanced through music therapy.
• Music provides concrete, multi-sensory stimulation (auditory, visual and tactile).
• Music is considered a universal language that may provide a bridge between individuals, people, and their environment.
• Music can be used for self-soothing.
• Music allows for appropriate non-verbal expression of emotions.
• Transition songs help explain change.
• Transition songs are non-confrontational.
• Both music and lyrics may relay expectations and aid in recall in future situations.
• Musical elements and the structure of the music itself provide a sense of security.