It is impossible to find someone who was not influenced by music, even if they did not have any musical training or musical talent. Therefore; Music has been used since ancient times as a healing method. Music affects both the left and right sides of the brain, including the regions responsible for perception, sensation, movement and emotion.
And according to the attractive nature of the music and the diversity of its forms; It has become a unique and effective method of recovery, and it was adopted as part of the treatment plan for many mental and behavioral disorders by improving many skills such as communication and the ability to interact with society .
What is Autism and how common is it?
Autism can usually be diagnosed within the first three years of life. It is known to be a very complex defect that affects the development of social, verbal and cognitive abilities. This disorder can affect the way people communicate with those around them.
This is not something that we can bypass, and early diagnosis means that there is a better chance for treatment. Most current intervention strategies target children under 6 years of age to promote early behavioral change .
How Music Therapy Works
Intervention modalities used in music therapy can be divided into interaction and reception techniques. When a person performs a musical performance, whether by singing, playing, or even composing and improvising, that person uses active techniques, and on the other hand; receptive techniques include listening to and creating a response to music, such as dancing or analyzing song lyrics.
Active and receptive techniques are often combined during treatment, and both are used as starting points for assessing feelings, values, and goals (2).
Music therapy can be done individually or in groups, and the musician chooses the therapist or the person receiving the treatment. But the therapist must make sure that the music used meets the individual’s needs for treatment and his goals (3).
The Importance of Music Therapy
One of the reasons music has been used in the treatment of autism is that it can stimulate both hemispheres of the brain, not just one.
This means that a therapist can use a song or musical instrument to support cognitive activity to build self-awareness and improve the ability to form relationships with others. Music encourages interaction and communication, which is one of the difficulties faced by children with autism.
Looking closely at the way bands operate; obviously, the instruments have to be in tune with each other, but the child who is undergoing therapy only needs to interact with his machine, at first it is difficult for children with autism to interact with others, but after they become accustomed to this machine, they may be able to interact with other children (4).
Do these technologies really work for individuals with autism?
The answer to this question is “yes”; several studies have supported the idea that music therapy in general is successful in helping individuals with autism reach their goals. A randomized controlled trial was set up (randomized controlled trials) at McGill University in Canada between two groups of children with autism. The first underwent (8–12) weeks of musical intervention, and the second did not. This study showed that the group that underwent music therapy had greater functional connectivity of the brain at rest compared to the group that did not undergo it.
The majority of these studies found that participants with autism achieved their primary goals within one year of starting work with a therapist.
In addition, this treatment is transferable to a larger area, from individual sessions to the intervention of the family, the school, and then the community. This is of great benefit to children, as a music therapist usually collaborates with parents and teachers to define these basic goals.
After achieving these goals, the therapist sets new goals to enhance these children’s abilities and develop more of their skills.
Most people expect that music therapy enhances the child’s musical abilities, but what distinguishes it is that it affects their behavioral and social skills and their ability to communicate as well.
In fact, the most typical goals found in these studies focused on improving behavioral problems, enhancing social interaction and communication abilities.
Although music therapy is effective in improving many abilities of people with autism, it remains an integral therapy that accompanies behavioral therapy and increases the rate of improvement (5,3).
- Publishing H. How music can help you heal — Harvard Health [Internet]. Harvard Health. 2016. Available here
- Music Therapy
- Series: The Potential Power of Music Therapy within the Autism Community
- The Benefits Of Music Therapy For Autistic Children
- Music improves social communication and auditory–motor connectivity in children with autism
This post was previously published on A Parent Is Born.
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