What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is an established, therapeutic approach that implements music as a therapeutic stimulus to attain functional outcomes (American MT Association, 2010).
Who does Music Therapy benefit?
Music Therapy benefits individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), speech/language delays, social and pragmatic difficulties, sensory impairments, cognitive delays, and other impairments.
Why is Music Therapy and effective treatment modality?
Music provides multisensory stimuli to children during instrument play with guitar, rain stick, ocean drum, cabasa, and drums. During these interventions children receive visual, auditory, and tactile stimulation.
Music is rhythmic and is often organized into patterns. Rhythm-based interventions can facilitate sustained attention, structure movement patterns, and enhance speech sounds. Since our brains are attracted to organized and structured information, rather than pieces of information, music can be an effective treatment modality.
Music Therapy is for all challenges that children face. In particular the use of Music Therapy in the treatment of ASD stems from three conclusions found in the research literature:
- children with ASD demonstrate musical sensitivity,
- children with ASD have a perceptual preference of music, and
- children with ASD may display superior production of musical patterns
Therefore, music therapists can use music to target functional skills, such as joint attention, language, and socialization.
Music is powerful, non-threatening, and fun! Music Therapy can provide success oriented opportunities for achievement and mastery of functional skills.
How does Music Therapy work?
Music Therapy provides a practical and motivating method to allow for necessary repetition, in which learning can occur. Musical skills can mediate functional skills in cognitive development since music is processed in both hemispheres of the brain. Music therapy sessions are provided in individual and group therapy sessions. Individual sessions integrate multi-disciplinary goals with a 1:1 ratio and group sessions reinforce socialization, peer awareness, and pragmatic skills.