Here is a snapshot of a Musical Therapy session which we have running in our ASD Units for the next 5 weeks.
How Music Can Make a Difference
One of the reasons that music has quickly become a tool used in autism therapy is that it can stimulate both hemispheres of our brain, rather than just one. This means that a therapist can use a song or instrument to support cognitive activity so that we can build self-awareness and improve relationships with others. Music encourages communicative behavior and can encourage interaction with others, which is something that autistic children have great difficulty with. If we look closely at the way that a band works, it is obvious that the instruments must all interact with one another, but the player only needs to interact with the instrument at first. For children dealing with autism, interacting with others can be difficult, but through introducing an instrument to their therapy, they may bond first with the object and then open up to others interacting with their instruments as well.
Listening and Singing Support
Our interpretation of music, both in lyrics and in sound can greatly assist in teaching us to communicate. For children with autism, this could mean learning a new word from a song, or better understanding how to act in a social situation based on the messages that a song is expressing. We know that autism can create barriers for children in social settings, but small groups of children listening to music together may feel confident and comfortable enough to comment or sing along with others. Dancing exercises can also help to stimulate our sensory systems, and allow us to enhance fine motor skills.