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3 Benefits of Music Therapy for Children with Autism

Posted Jun 17 2013 3:16pm

dr-checklistI have a list of all time most popular inquiry call questions. Today we will be talking about number 2 on that list.

“My child has autism. How can music therapy help?”

This typically follows the all time most popular question of “What is music therapy?” With autism being such a common diagnosis, it is time to give a short and succinct answer. Here are my top three benefits for music therapy for children with autism.

1. Music Therapy helps to develop social skills.

The number one response to our intake question, “What are you hoping to have music therapy address?” is social skills. Through music therapy interventions, we engage our clients through music. They listen to it, respond to it, and even play it with us! We see multiple levels of social interaction through facilitating music with others. Everything from gazing in our direction to verbal conversations about the music making itself.

2. Music Therapy helps develop expression.

One of my favorite parts of our recital (who am I kidding.. the whole thing was my favorite) were the original and recreated songs that were performed. Our clients had the opportunity to express their thoughts, feelings, and personalities through the songs that they chose and wrote. Our clients who do not write songs are also able to express themselves through the manner in which they chose to make music (or not). What a wonderful, safe, and expressive avenue to communicate through!

3. Assistance with anxiety.

A lot of our clients get a type of performance anxiety about their other therapies, performance in school, or their perception of their own differences. Music therapy provides the opportunity to be successful without pressure. Want to sing? Sing! Want to drum? Drum! Want to do nothing, turn the lights out, and sway to Moonlight Sonata? We can do that, too. By building confidence and addressing emotions and how to express them, we help many of our clients deal with anxiety that they feel outside of therapy, and help them to develop appropriate coping skills to handle those feelings.

Those are  my top 3! If you are a therapist, or perhaps a parent of someone who receives music therapy services, what are your top 3? Share them in the comments below!

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