Music, Everyone’s Language
Music has always been known as a healer in many ways. Many people use it as an outlet and to express their feelings. However, music also can be a great form of professional therapy, especially for autistic children. “Music offers a means of self-expression, communication, and interaction that can be more easily assimilated by children that some other medium (Improvisational Music 1).” Autistic children have many special needs which almost always include some sort of therapy. Music therapy is a fun and effective way to help children with autism achieve their goals and to live a more productive life.
Music Therapy is an established profession where music is used within a therapeutic relationship to help with the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals (American Music Therapy Association). Music therapy helps to improve socio-behavior skills such as reducing off task behaviors, improving problematic classroom behavior, recognizing emotions, and increasing the initiation of interactions (Music Therapy Shown To Help Children With Autism).Classical music or music with a steady rhythm is said to be the best for alleviating anxiety in children with autism (Music can reduce anxiety). According to Andrew Littlefield, music therapy is a great fit for an
organization called Autism Speaks because music encourages social interactions, it is adaptable to people of all abilities, and it is multi-modal and engages people across multiple domains (Autism Speaks).
According to the US Centers for Disease Control Statistics, one in every one-hundred and fifty children is diagnosed with autism and there is one new diagnosis every twenty minutes (Science Daily). There are many different subtypes of autism that all require different levels of treatment and attention. The new publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual merged many autism subtypes into one diagnosis called ASD (Pelayo 2). ASD stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder are both general terms for many complex disorders of brain development (Pelayo 2). The different degrees of Autism are categorized by social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behavior (Pelayo 2). ASD can also be used when talking about intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination, attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances (Pelayo 2). Many people who are diagnosed with ASD have amazing visual, music, math and art skills (Pelayo 2).
Many studies have been conducted on how Music Therapy affects children with Autism and have ended with great result. One study was conducted to investigate whether pre-school children with autism showed observable and measurable changes in joint attention behaviors in improvisational music therapy (Improvisational music 1). Thirteen boys and two girls aged between three and 5 with autism who had never had