Why Music Therapy for Autism?
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder often show heightened interest, processing abilities, responses to, and talent with music.
Music provides a non-threatening, safe and enjoyable medium for individuals with autism to explore and learn new developmental, communication, social, emotional, behavioral, academic, motor, and sensory processing skills.
How does music help your child with Speech Development?
A combination of music and movement has long been known to help stroke patients recover some of their communication skills. This has since been adapted to Autistic therapies in speech, where a combination of approaches appears to work together to build those communication skills. When your autistic child can have the following activities combined, it might just open a new door in the communication barrier.
– Hearing the words sung
– Seeing the pictures that match the word being sung or emphasized during the song
– Making movements to the rhythm of the music, such as guided toe tapping or drumming
Speech is generally thought to be controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain, but music is typically processed by both sides of the brain, meaning that there is a greater opportunity for the brain to process the input – the music. Some researchers find that Autistic children display characteristics of right-brained, or Gestalt learning styles, especially with the idea that kinesthetic learners do best when they can move – and music therapy encourages movement.
Benefits of Music Therapy
Think of the music therapy in your child’s speech therapy program as muscle building for the areas of the autistic brain that are often abnormal. Music helps to bridge areas in the brain and reinforces the flow of words and sentences. This multi-sensory experience is the speech builder that can help knock down some of those communication barriers. Plus, it also often has the added benefit of calming, soothing, and relaxing the child.