Effects of music therapy on mood, language, behavior, and social skills in children with autism: A meta-analysis

Sensory sensitivities are common among individuals with autism, and they can significantly impact daily life. Music therapy can be an effective tool for managing sensory sensitivities by providing a controlled and structured sensory experience. They are able to build musical ability while acquiring so many other skills that are particularly important for autistic children to develop.

To see how music therapy works, you can see this video in which therapist Ryan Judd, out of Exeter, New Hampshire, plays instruments alongside Elliot, an autistic adult. You can also watch Judd’s strategic approach below with autistic and blind adult Brandon. A credentialed therapist does an initial assessment, then develops a program and meets regularly with the autistic person for musical activities. Studies assessing educational musicotherapy in patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

music therapy for autism

Music therapy has been used to support emotional, cognitive and social development in many populations. During music therapy sessions, the therapist will introduce activities that aim at the specific needs determined during the assessment phase. These activities may include songwriting, moving to music and dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, listening to music, working in groups, and improvising. Music can rewire the brains of children with autism and improve their neural connections, helping them reduce undesirable behaviors and enhance social and other skills. What’s more, studies have indicated that interactive activities involving music have more effect on autistic children than activities that don’t involve music.

Does Music Therapy Help Autistic Children?

Through careful assessment and observation, music therapists identify the areas of development that can be targeted using music. They take into account the individual’s communication skills, social interaction abilities, sensory sensitivities, and overall cognitive and emotional functioning. This individualized approach ensures that the therapy is tailored to the specific needs and goals of each person with autism.

The Benefits of Music Therapy For Autism

However, research has yet to delineate which therapist techniques are most effective in impacting the joint attention and turn-taking behaviors of children with ASD. Furthermore, the extant research has studied children on the Autism spectrum as an aggregate, without taking into consideration the deficits and level of functioning specific to each child. Music therapy employs various techniques and approaches to cater to the individual needs of people with autism. By focusing on individualized approaches and utilizing music-based interventions, music therapists can effectively address the unique challenges faced by individuals on the autism spectrum. Read more about piano lessons for autistic child here. Music therapy has shown great promise in improving the lives of individuals with autism. This section explores some of the key benefits that music therapy brings to those on the autism spectrum, including enhancing communication skills, promoting social interaction, and managing sensory sensitivities. Among other hypotheses, music therapy sessions might exert a positive effect by increasing the quantity and quality of adult-child interactions.

Musical processing in high functioning children with autism

Music therapy sessions usually range from 30 minutes to 1 hour once a week to multiple times a week to fit the needs of your child and your family. Music therapy can take place in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, the child’s own home, rehabilitation centers, and clinics.

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