One of the most effective ways to help children with autism learn and develop is though music therapy. No matter the age of the child, music therapy can be utilized to help the child out, from concentration to developing some of the fine motor skills that they will need as they get older. This can make it an effective option to help parents give their children the best.
In fact, studies have shown how this music therapy, when used in children and teens with autism, can help with a number of factors including:
- Reducing anxiety
- Improving body coordination and awareness
- Helping with communication attempts
- Increasing attention and focuses
- Improving social behaviors
Depending on the type and severity of the autism in the child, all of these can be important aspects of development that the child needs to work with. If other methods have failed or do not seem to bring out the results that you want, it is time to consider whether music therapy for autism is the right choice.
How Can Music Therapy Help with Autism?
Many have found that the right music therapy will improve the quality of life for those with autism. It can provide a lot of benefits including:
It is Multi-Sensory
When a child goes through a music experience, the child will receive input through auditory, tactile, and visual all at the same time. Other methods can do this, but they tend to overwhelm the child with autism. Music is beneficial because it is flexible and can be changed to adapt to the needs of the child, while still working through more than one sense.
It is Processed Using the Whole Brain
When the child is engaged with activities that involve music, studies show that both hemispheres of the brain are used at the same time. Just sitting down and listening to the music can help to activate some of the neural networks in the brain that help with motor control, creativity, and emotions. When you add in some of the other components of music therapy, even more of the brain can be put to work.
It Provides Structure
Many children with autism crave structure and the familiar. This helps them to feel safe in that environment and will help them to thrive at the level they are at that time. Musical elements can help to create this security and familiarity for the child. For those children who are dependent on the repetition of the same activities, it is possible for the musical therapist to add in new songs and music experiences slowly, while still keeping the rest of the routine the same for the child.
It Helps with Communication
It is estimated that 30% of children with autism are also nonverbal. It is hard for some of the children to understand social awareness and verbal comments. This is where music can come to play. Music is going to provide a way for the child to express themselves without words.
Even if the child can communicate and is not non-verbal, music therapy will help them to develop their current language skills in a variety of way. The children can learn how to be expressive and label pictures of items, use some carrier phrases, learn about comprehension, and even practice some of their skills of conversation along the way.
It Encourages the Child to Be Social
Many children with autism will have trouble with typical social interactions. If they struggle with communication, it is hard to express themselves around others, even around other children. With the help of music therapy, children have been able to show more social engagement and even emotional expression than from a play session that is done without the involvement of music.
It can Reduce Anxiety
Many children with autism will struggle with issues of anxiety. If their schedule gets off or they are placed into a new situation, it can throw things off and makes the child nervous and anxious. Music therapy could be the solution that your child needs to learn more on how to handle the anxiety.
One four-week study that was done in 2006 by the University of Wisconsin La Crosse found that music therapy was effective at helping to reduce the amount of anxiety a child with autism may experience. The sessions do not need to be long. In this study, the participants spent 20 minutes in music therapy a total of 16 times and it was shown that this was enough time to decrease anxiety-related behaviors in the child.
It Helps with Social, Cognitive, and Motor Skills
There are different things that children with autism can struggle with, depending on the severity and type of autism they have. They may struggle to learn their colors, numbers, or letters. They may need to work on their fine or gross motor skills as well. While there are other methods available to help the patient, music therapy has proven to be one of the best options out there.
A music therapist will be able to work through the condition your child struggles with and come up with a type of therapy that addresses specific issues for that child. If they need to work on fine motor skills, for example, the music therapist will implement more techniques that allow the child to work on these skills, all with the fun of music. This makes it more effective for the child.
Choosing Music Therapy for Your Child
Music is very appealing to children with autism and many of these children are receptive to using it. By utilizing music to focus on improving the skills of the child, all while recognizing what makes the child unique, the parent and the music therapist can be there to help the patient every step of the way.
Music therapy is a great option for all children, but can provide many therapy benefits for those who have autism. Choosing Music Therapy Props from Bear Paw Creek is a smart decision to help you implement music therapy for your child. Contact us today to get started with some of our amazing music therapy options for autism.