The Role Music Therapists Play In Treating Autistic Children

Music therapists play the role of using the power of music to help their clients overcome various social, behavioral, emotional and physical difficulties. They work with clients of all ages and belonging to all kinds of social and cultural backgrounds. The musical sessions are conducted with the sole aim of establishing an interactive relationship between the therapist and the client in order to achieve various therapeutic goals.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a lifelong developmental disability affecting the ways in which a person communicates or relate to others around them. It has been shown in various medical studies and researches that music therapy can immensely help children with autism. Autistic children and teens are helped by the power of music in a number of ways, such as developing social behaviors and communicative skills, enhancing focus and attention, improving body coordination, reducing stress and anxiety and more.

Let us discuss some of the ways music therapists can help children and teens on the autistic spectrum:

Improve Social Skills: In most cases it is found that autistic children responds extremely well and become more expressive and socially active during musical sessions than during play sessions that are devoid of music. Moreover, an experienced and trained therapist can immensely help in developing social skills in these children by engaging them in various musical activities such as moving to musical tunes, passing and sharing musical instruments, dancing around a particular instrument, composing songs and many more.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety: Owing to the inability to filter our provoking stimuli, autistic children are more prone to exhibit anxiety-related behaviors. Music therapy has been found to be extremely helpful in easing stress and anxiety in these children.

Develop Communicative Skills: Most children with autism have a problem communicating with people around them. While some of them are non-verbal, some have problems following verbal commands and some fail to understand body languages. Skilled music therapists conduct therapeutic sessions with various musical activities that help these children learn to relate words with actions. These effective musical activities help in establishing a connection between the motor and auditory sections of the brain, thereby developing in them the ability to understand verbal commands.

Music is Enjoyable: It is easier for autistic children to consistently enjoy the musical sessions due to the simple reason that they do not seem like work to them. The children thoroughly enjoy the musical activities without feeling pressurized or forced to take part in them. It is almost impossible to make children keep working at something unless they enjoy it or find happiness in it. Music therapists can make the therapeutic sessions extremely creative, fun-filled and motivating, thereby helping them to stick to the sessions consistently.

In order to help children on the autistic spectrum, it is essential for the therapists to appropriately understand their pathological and personal needs. Before starting the therapy, they must engage in thorough discussions with the family of the child regarding the child’s behavioral patterns, disabilities and requirements. Only then can the therapist plan the right kind of musical sessions for them.