Music is a universal language that connects people of all ages and lifestyles. Music benefits both young and old, emotionally and spiritually. It is used in many ways to delve into a person’s emotions and open them up. Because music can affect a person emotionally and cognitively more than any instrument could, it is now well acclaimed and can even be used therapeutically for various conditions, both mental and physical. Learn about the amazing benefits of music therapy for autistic children.
Therapies go as far as encouraging people to learn musical instruments, as this method can heal and help improve various aspects of health. Music therapy can even be used effectively to benefit people with autism.
The surprising connection between music and autism
Autism is a condition in which there are complex developmental disabilities in social, cognitive, and verbal skills. The condition appears in the first three years of a child’s life and this can have a long-lasting effect on speech development. Although autism is not a curable condition, the correct methods to help people with autism can make a huge difference in their lives.
Autism is a spectrum condition, which means that it affects people in different ways.
But most autistic people see, hear, and experience the world differently from other people.
Although the signs of autism vary widely among children, youth, and adults, there are two common characteristics:
- Difficulties with communication and social interaction: Autistic people can find it difficult to participate in conversations or make friends.
- Repetitive behavior, routines, and activities, such as fixed daily routines, repetitive body movements, and a hypersensitivity to certain sounds.
Music therapy is helpful in autism because it can help stimulate the brain, specifically the underdeveloped parts of autism. Studies have shown significant improvements in people with autism who are regularly exposed to music. This is an optimistic twist for autism cases.
How Music Therapy Helps Autistic Children
Children with autism may have a hard time understanding and following verbal commands. About 30% of autistic children have difficulty communicating and expressing themselves verbally. In several cases, these children may also have difficulty understanding body language combined with verbal commands.
Research has shown that music therapy can improve understanding and comprehension by connecting the motor and auditory functions of the brain. Through repetitive verbal commands, along with music, children can show improvement in following and understanding, in turn, communication becomes a smoother process.
Music is a powerful instrument and can help people focus and be more attentive. Verbal cues with music are found to be easier to follow. This includes body movements, seeing, touching, hearing, and, in some cases, smelling and tasting. With the help of music, children are encouraged to explore their sensory abilities further and are able to discover new things that may interest them and help their development.
Studies were conducted on the effects of music therapy in children with autism who have restlessness, annoyance and aggression in their behavior. Studies showed that these children who were exposed to music therapy for at least one hour each week had a positive development in their behavior and were able to reduce restlessness. The study showed the greatest improvement for children who are least attentive. This is a tremendous development in the connection between music therapy and autism.
One of the symptoms of autism is not being able to interact socially and children prefer to play alone. This can lead to underdevelopment of children’s social skills, which affects them even more as adults. Through music therapy, it was observed that children become more interactive, can better express their emotions and interact with other children during the therapy session. These children who undergo music therapy regularly every week have shown continuous improvement in social interaction.
Children with autism have a harder time regulating and filtering their emotions, especially emotions that lead to stress and anxiety. Studies carried out in the field of music therapy showed that the therapy has a positive development by being able to express your emotions and reduce forms of stress and anxiety. Classical and constant music has a calming effect and children can regulate their emotions and express them clearly.
Introducing an autistic child to music
Research suggests that early intervention is important to see improvement and reduce symptoms of autism. Introducing music to a child with autism is not a challenge , and with the right support, a child with autism can be motivated to begin listening to and enjoying music. Giving them music lessons is another effective way to introduce music. In this way, they can explore their own abilities and learn to appreciate the music they create.
There are several options for introducing music to a child with autism. If they prefer, they can take private music lessons at first to feel more comfortable. Music programs are also offered in schools that can allow them to interact with other children and help them develop their social skills.