Advice Column, Child, Health, Parenting, Toddler

Benefits of Music Therapy for Children on the Spectrum

  • Caroline Syokao
  • Category Advice Column, Child, Health, Parenting, Toddler

Music is a good therapeutic tool for people with different abilities and ages. This is mostly so for children with autism. Medical experts have shown its calming effects and how it’s helped autistic kids integrate into society. 

A study done in 2004 by the Journal of Music Therapy showed that ASD kids who engaged in music therapy showed improvement in their cognitive, social and emotional skills. 

Further studies have shown that children on the spectrum respond positively to music. This helps to easily capture their attention. 

In this article, I’ll outline the benefits of music therapy for your autistic child.

It Helps To Reduce Anxiety

ASD kids experience more anxiety compared to typical kids. This is because they don’t have the capacity to eliminate provoking stimuli. 

A study done in 2006 by the University of Wisconsin La Crosse found music therapy to reduce anxiety in autistic children. 

The children were exposed to rhythmic music for approximately 20 minutes after which they showed reduced anxiety. 

If you are considering music therapy for your child, it is important to choose classical tunes or music with steady beats. This is good for dealing with anxiety as the beats are pretty predictable.

It Improves Social Interactions

A study done in 2009 by Gold, Wigram and Kim showed an increase in social interactions and emotional expressions in ASD children in music therapy sessions.

The children also responded well to the therapist when engaged in a music therapy session than in play sessions. 

Also, therapists can use this form of therapy to enhance social skills and interactions. This is evident when they share and pass instruments and when they surround a specific instrument. 

Music Improves Communication

Music is sometimes referred to a universal form of communication. That’s why children on the spectrum take part in a Q&A session that provides musical examples of how to communicate with others. 

This helps kids to learn the natural melody of speech. It is estimated that approximately 30% of ASD kids are nonverbal. 

In addition, low functioning children have a hard time understanding body language.  

That’s why incorporating action songs helps to give instructions on movement. This helps kids to include vocalization, body percussion and rhythm.  

It helps your child to mingle with others and have a deeper understanding of their environment. Encourage your child to play wind instruments such as the kazoo or harmonica.

This helps to strengthen muscles required for speech. It is also ideal to engage your child in breathing exercises and vocal improvisation as it helps them prepare for speech exercises and strengthen muscles too. 

It Helps to Boost Confidence

Most children living with autism have some inborn music talents. Music therapy will help your child to try new tasks and experience success in their strong areas. 

In addition, the music structure helps to provide an expected yet flexible framework to navigate new objectives.

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