Music Therapy & Autism
Music Therapy Improving Language Skills in Children with ASD
By: Katie Hemler
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
- The cause of ASD is unknown. There are links to genetics and environmental factors ("Facts about ASD," 2014)
- Early signs of ASD: avoiding eye contact, preferring not to be held or cuddled, no reaction when name is called, and the regression of already developed skills ("Facts about ASD," 2014)
- Incurable, but medications to subside symptoms and interventions to target specific difficulties
- Individual with ASD have difficulties with communication, social interactions, and/or repetitive behaviors and interests (Gattino, Riesgo, Longo, Leite, & Faccini, 2011)
- Regression of language is typically the first red flag!
Language Difficulties and ASD
- It is common for children with ASD to demonstrate difficulties in expressive and/or receptive language (Silverman, 2008).
- Children with ASD often develop unusual speech features, including atypical prosody, echolalia, pronoun reversal, and an over all lack of motivation to communicate (Silverman, 2008).
- Most children with ASD demonstrate difficulties with semantics, pragmatics, and prosody (Lim, 2010).
What is Music Therapy?
- Intervention used to develop fine and gross motor coordination, attention span, self-confidence, social-interpersonal skills, and verbal and nonverbal communication (Lim, 2010)
- Uses singing and interments throughout session
- Instructed by certified Music Therapist
- Has been used for decades with Autistic children
- Studies have shown that music therapy is especially effective in improving the communicative abilities of children with ASD (Lim, 2010)
Music therapy and ASD
Studies have also been conducted to compare the use of speech and language therapy to music therapy. The results determined that higher functioning children with ASD showed equal improvements when being involved in music and speech-language therapy, but lower functioning individuals progressed more when being involved in music therapy (Lim, 2010).
Music is a tool that can be used to improve communication in children with Autism, while also giving them an outlet to be creative and have fun!
How is this related to the media?
Here are some ADORABLE videos of Nicholas and his Music Therapist Jammin Jenn!
- Facts about ASD. (2014, March 20). Retrieved November 9, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov
- Gattino, G. S., Riesgo, R. D., Longo, D., Leite, J. C., & Faccini, L. S. (2011). Effects of relational music therapy on communication of children with autism: A randomized controlled study. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 20(2), 142-154. doi: 10.1080/08098131.2011.566933
- Lim, H. A. (2010). Effect of "Developmental speech and language training through music" on speech production in children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Music Therapy, 47(1), 2-26. doi: 10.1093/jmt/47.1.2
- Silverman, M. J. (2008). Nonverbal communication, music therapy, and autism: A review of literature and case example. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 3(1), 3-19. doi: 10.1080/15401380801995068
- Jacqueline Laurita: My Son Has Autism. (2012, August 22). Retrieved November 9, 2014, from http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20623084,00.html
- Kabuki Syndrome Network | Dare to dream, courage to adapt, wisdom to rejoice. (n.d.).Retrieved November 9, 2014, from http://kabukisyndrome.com/content/music-soothes-soul
- LD Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved November 9, 2014, from http://www.ldresources.org/2013/03/new-findings-on-language-acquisition-for-children-with-autism/
- Music Therapy: A Possible Treatment for Autism. (n.d.). Retrieved November 9, 2014, from http://cobbersonthebrain.areavoices.com/2011/12/20/music-therapy-a-possible-treatment-for-autism/
- Frito Song. (n.d.). Retrieved November 9, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfFXEZfCtxo&list=PL_7q6_JH0uREqxq7xxaDpDB1adbp5Psaz&index=38
- Happy bday Mommy!!! (n.d.). Retrieved November 9, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAMHImwI2M4&list=PL_7q6_JH0uREqxq7xxaDpDB1adbp5Psaz&index=8
- Nick sings Old McDonald. (n.d.). Retrieved November 9, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA9QRGqXg4M&list=PL_7q6_JH0uREqxq7xxaDpDB1adbp5Psaz&index=39