Music Therapy for Autistic Children: Importance, Objective, Benefits

Music therapy is the medical and evidence based use of musical interference to attain goals in a therapeutic relationship that the sufferer shares with the professional in an approved music therapy session.

Music therapy often helps children suffering from autism with respect to nonverbal as well as a non-threatening medium of therapy. Various music activities are designed in parallel to support the objectives of an autistic child

Music Therapy for Autistic Children

A music therapist may observe the needs of an autistic child to interact with others in a social environment. Music Therapy may help in fostering the interaction with another person by playing music games such as passing the ball. Eye contact may also be encouraged with simulated clapping games or other activities that can help with focusing. Preferred music may be used for a variety of social activities like sitting on the chair or staying in a group of children that belong to the same circle.

The development and the remediation of speech of an autistic child are carried out by music therapy. The communication deficit that is observed in autistic children may include expressive speech which may be impersonal or nonexistent. Speech can range from complete silence to grunts, humming, cries, explosive shrieks as well as guttural sounds.

Musically intoned vocalizations along with consonant-vowel combinations may be used and this is a classy mix of babbling words that are recognized vaguely. This may also seem like a foreign sound that is new to a child.

The autistic speech that is at the higher level may also involve echolalia (parrot speaking), pronominal reversal or delayed echolalia. Some children may also show progress related to suitable idioms, sentences and longer sentences in the form of monotonic or non-expressive speech. Since autistic children are focused into music classes, a teacher who teaches music will have the plunders of having an autistic child occupied in activities that are related to music and aids in improving the language.

It has been noted over and over again that autistic children are sensitive towards music. Some have perfect pitch while others may have an interest in playing various musical instruments. Music therapists often work with autistic kids as they have immense responsiveness.

As autistic children show keenness in singing rather than speaking, therapists as well as music teachers may work in group to boost the speech function through various vocal activities. In the classroom, he or she can ask the autistic kid to learn songs that have simple words as well as repetitive syllables that can aid in improving the language. When meaningful phrases are presented with visual cues, this task becomes much easier to handle.

Music therapy is established well and uses music as a therapeutic medium for achieving the dysfunctions in a speech in autistic children. Various researches have shown the connection between singing, speech, rhythm as well as motor behavior. Along with this memory for academic material and memory for song and to elevate the mood as well as attention has been seen in correlation. This will enhance the ability of a child to interact and learn new things.

Hence, the major principle of music therapy design for autism sufferers is to assist an individual with rhythmic and melodic strategies along with musical cues that aid in the simplification of the issues. Music therapy is known as a related service and tends to attend to the special needs of a child to meet various goals. The interventions due to music therapy have generated positive results and all have proved to be quite favorable.

The Planned Precedence on Autism and Music Therapy Lays Focus on the Following Aspects:

  1. Awareness and Appreciation: This area strategically focuses on the contribution and the role of certified therapists in treating autism. This involves creating awareness and educating people about the use of music therapy in treating autism.
  2. Training and Professional Improvement: This area strategically focuses on progressive tools and assets of qualified therapists for using music interventions that will prove to be helpful in some way or the other.
  3. Data Based Process and Research: This area strategically focuses on progression, distribution, and translating to practices that will best suit the condition of an autistic person based on the history of interventions that are based on music.

Why Music Therapy is Important for Children Suffering from Autism?

Music Therapy is based on evidences that are collected by observing music interventions for accomplishing the goals that are set by an individual. This is often granted by a professional who is credentialed and has approval to carry out therapy sessions. Through the sessions, people of all cultures, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds and degrees of abilities are able to progress well.

Why Music Therapy is Important for Children Suffering from Autism?

The accessibility and the engaging nature of music often grant positive responses in autistic children. Researchers have discussed responsiveness, advanced music memory and aptitudes of music therapy. Even if there are only a few autistic people that are attracted towards music, music intervention may be helpful for everyone.

What is the Objective of Music Therapy for Children Suffering from Autism?

The objective of the music therapy is to improve the autistic child’s communication, cognitive, sensory functions. Music therapy interventions lay an impact on motor/sensory, social, music skills, academic/cognitive functioning and communication in autistic people. The services that are offered as a part of music therapy is offered on the basis of individual preferences and only offered after considering the family background as well as the environment in which a person is living. Music therapists work in accordance with other clients, teams as well as family members.

The process of assessment in music therapy is made to understand the child’s recent functioning while engaging in various music experiences. The plan of intervention is based on the outcomes of the assessment.

The techniques and strategies are practiced in identifying the skills that are targeted. Such music therapy sessions also grant consistency, predictability, structure and familiarity. The responses of the patients to the music therapy are documented and evaluated to check for progress. The future intervention options and the generalization may also be designed for the autistic childrens progress. The suggestions and measures may help the sufferer of autism, his or her team and family to appreciate while progressing in the treatment. It may also help in maximizing the life aspects.

Does Research Support the Advantages or Benefits of Music Therapy for Children Suffering from Autism?

Yes! The research supports the advantages or Benefits of music therapy for children suffering from autism. Over the past years, various case studies, reviews and narratives that are sketchy have been describing the perks of intervention of musical therapy for autistic children. The National Autism Center (2009) has recognized music therapy as an emerging practice and has been meeting all the criteria that are necessary. There are many practices that are being carried out in a single session and have proved to be extremely beneficial for the autistic children as well.

The services that are related to music therapy and are given for youngsters are effective in improving the communication, play, personal responsibility and interpersonal skills. The interventions may help autistic patients to identify and express the emotions in the right manner. It may also impact memory, aid visual recall and improve joint attention as well. The auditory processing along with gross/fine motor, perceptual/motor and sensory/motor skills may be enhanced in autistic children. The interventions that focus on family practices may allow the person to engage in a social surrounding in a comfortable way. It helps in learning new skills and adopts certain essential practices as well.

Where do the Music Therapists Conduct the Sessions with the Children Suffering from Autism?

Music therapists acknowledge referrals and offer evaluation and interventions to all the autistic sufferers as well as their families in homes, public schools, places of private practice, daycares/ preschools, treatment centers, hospitals, music therapy agencies, support groups, early intervention programs and all other community venues. A music therapist’s role may be as a direct service provider, as a parental coach or family consultant, educators, team members or caregivers.

Who Pays for Music Therapy Services?

Music therapy is based on proofs and is known as a related service by the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This is why, children that are school-aged as well as youth may be eligible for getting music therapy and this is stated in the IDEA Part B. There are various services that are funded by states, community grants and foundations. Most therapists also take payments on a private note.

For additional information, please contact the national office: The American Music Therapy Association, Inc. 8455 Colesville Road, Suite 1000 Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, USA Phone: (301) 589-3300; Fax: (301) 589-5175 Site: Email:

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 1, 2021

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