Effects of Improvisational Music Therapy on Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Another study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders found that music therapy can help improve joint attention, which is an important aspect of social interaction. Joint attention refers to the ability to share attention with others and coordinate one’s focus with another person during social interactions. In addition to individuals with autism, music therapy has been used to help people with a range of conditions, including depression, anxiety disorders, dementia, and chronic pain. It has also been used in hospital settings to help patients manage pain and stress during medical procedures. Music therapy can benefit people of all ages, from infants to older adults. The subjects were of different ages, including preschoolers and school-aged children.

music therapy for autism

Music therapist Juliet Alvin (1975) contends that the music therapist and music therapy setting are especially conducive to ensuring that the client is deriving pleasure from the experience. It provides a non-threatening means of communication and expression which is also pleasurable for many autistic individuals, and it promotes a sense of emotional satisfaction. To effectively incorporate music therapy into the overall treatment plan for individuals with autism, a multidisciplinary approach is often recommended. This collaborative approach involves various professionals working together to address the unique needs of each individual.

More research is needed to really explore music therapy’s effects on autism. You can incorporate music into your child’s daily life by singing to them. You don’t have to purchase expensive musical equipment if you don’t feel like it is appropriate for your child. You can purchase items that are designed for children to play with instead of getting something more costly. Failure to pre-register the protocol for this review is a problem because it introduces a potential bias to the evaluation. Fewer articles were included in this paper and only those published in English were covered, which may be subject to publication bias.

For example, they may be able to tolerate loud or unfamiliar sounds better after participating in music therapy. Music therapy can improve mood, language, sensory perception, behavior, and social skills in children with autism. In a study by The American Music Therapy Association , they found that music can act as an emotional outlet, allowing individuals with autism to express their feelings through musical improvisation. As a result, music therapy can contribute significantly to improved emotional regulation and overall mental wellbeing. Read more about piano lessons for special needs here. Moreover, the repetitive nature of songs and rhythms aid in memorization and learning of new words.

Who should try music therapy?

Figure 2 provides a summary of the risk of bias results for each included study. Six trials (17, 21–24, 28) randomized their group assignments by using a computer-generated randomization list. One trial (11) matched the children by both age and sex to eliminate possible intervening variables. Two studies (22, 24) clearly described the blind assessment of the outcome measures.

Q: How does music therapy help autism?

Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled clinical trials were accepted. Music therapy should always be conducted by a well-educated music therapist with at least an undergraduate degree in music therapy and at least 1,200 hours of clinical training. Depending on the child’s situation, the therapist should formulate the goals for the child and discuss these with the parents. There is also family-centered music therapy, where the whole family gets involved in the sessions. This approach aims to help the autistic child and the entire family unit to improve mental and physical health.

Just like us, children with ASD are unique individuals with their own likes, dislikes, and preferences. When it comes to music, some kids might prefer fast-paced music while others may prefer slower, more calming music. It’s important to find what type of music your child responds to and use it as a tool to help them reach their full potential. The left side is responsible for processing language while the right side processes melody and rhythm.

Various music therapy activities and tools can be used (discussed and decided upon by both parents and therapists) to help improve the quality of life of children with autism. Aside from the sensory of dance, verbal advancement of lyrics and the social dynamic of learning an instrument, rhythm can help to motivate impulsive play time that involves our entire brains and body as one. Songwriting involves the creation of original songs, and can be used to help individuals with autism to express themselves, develop their communication skills, and improve their emotional regulation. Music therapists can use songwriting to encourage individuals to create personalised songs that address their specific goals and needs.

People on the autism spectrum often experience heightened sensory sensitivities. The rhythmic structure of music provides a sense of predictability and security, which helps in reducing anxiety and promotes relaxation.

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