Music Therapy for Autistic Children

Music Therapy for Autistic Children

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When a child is diagnosed with autism, one thing that is noted is the lack of eye contact. Music therapy works to help this in numerous ways. When the therapist starts at the child’s level, according to the British Colombian Music therapy association, they can base what needs to be done and how to do it off of where the child is and after many sessions, where they are now (M-7). According to a report in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, “Eye contact – this refers to an event where child looks at therapist while playing, manipulating” (E-7).
A way that in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders is using music therapy instead of play therapy as it increases turn taking and eye contact more than when play therapy is used (E-4). Eye Contact was even proved to be held longer during this study when the child was participating in music therapy activities than when they were in regular play activities(E-1). When a mother was quoted on the British Columbian Music Therapy website, she stated that the “skills and abilities acquired in the music therapy setting generalize widely across situations.
VII. Turn Taking
The music therapist has to reach the child to be able to interact with them and help them. When the child feels free and unthreatened, the British Colombian Music Therapy association says that they get more out of the session. When they are not being told don’t this, don’t do that, and NO for everything they do to express themselves. Music therapy gives them that way to express themselves without being yelled at and told NO (M-8).
The Tympo and Rhythm of the instruments is not just a way for the children express themselves, it even stops reminding them of when they were in the womb. The British Colombia MTA states that the tympo and Rhythm gets the child to progress from the rocking motion when they were in the womb and as a baby. It gives them a new independent feel (M-6). As music therapy is one of the cutting edge therapies according to Ken Siri and Tony Lyons, this helps develop motor skills for the child to interact with the instruments (A-2).
According to an article in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, “Turn Taking – This refers to an event involving a sequence of turns to play alternating between the child and Therapist.

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The Types of measure are Frequency and Duration” (of eye contact) (E-6).
This is proving to be effective as both parents and music therapists are seeing results. The Article in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders has parent’s and therapists testimonials. After the Music therapy sessions, the therapists see more improvement in children after exposing them to play therapy sessions, their mothers do as well (E-2). The mothers interact with the children on a daily basis and they have expectations of their child (E-3) that may cause them to think that there is not as much improvement as, according to this article; the therapist see since they interact with them less often (E-3).
VII. Communication
In the Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism, it states that music therapy can help autistic children with relationship skills by helping them communicate through music (A-1). The British Columbia Music Therapy Association states that the instrument can and is a tool to help children want to communicate (M-4). They also include that the music that they hear or produce pulls them farther out of their own world and helps create interactions with things, first as the instruments, and people, starting with the music therapist (M-3).
In the Article Child: Care, Health and Development, it states that “This non-verbal, musical interaction can emulate a mother-infant interaction, where reciprocity in rhythmic, melody, and dynamic style is analogous to the way the therapist responding to the child (Stern 1985; Pavlicevic 1990; Trevarthen 2001, 2001) (F-3). In general they are stating that Music Therapy gives children another way to communicate other than verbally. This helps them want to communicate in general (F-2).
Many different toys and musical instruments are used in a therapy session. The article in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders says that when they conducted their study, they found that the instruments and toys looked similar especially in color and number (E-8). This was to find which of the items that the child would reach for and so that there was no disbelief because the items did not look similar and were different colors, they ruled this out by making everything look similar. To tie this in with communication they also lead that play therapy does not take as much working with others as music therapy does (E-5).
The parent must see results or else they will not want to invest the money into music therapy for their child. Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism states that within research, results are seen in 1-year but parents are more impressed by the results that music therapy gives in non-musical activities (A-13). They also state that “The Addition of music therapy interventions to a child’s treatment program can have positive outcomes and may be an effective method for increasing joint attention skills in some children with autism (A-11). The emphasis is on Addition, can, and may but this just proves that music therapy can and had had a major impact on some children’s lives.

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