Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as it is also called, is one of the most prevalent disorders in the world that affect the patients at a very young age. Autism is usually noticed within the first three years of a child’s life. It exhibits a number of symptoms that usually indicate towards unusual communication and interactive skills, including verbal, cognitive and social skills of the affected child.
Autism mainly affects the communication ability of the affected child which also leads to underdeveloped social interaction skills. It becomes difficult to narrow down the exact sign or symptoms to detect autism as these symptoms are similar to several other disorders as well. Hence, it is important to undergo a detailed and extensive diagnostic test to determine if the under-developed communication and interaction skills are due to autism.
There are several therapies and treatments that help to overcome the limitations that it sets on the child’s interaction and communicative behaviors.
How Music Helps
Music has become an effective tool for the improvement of the child’s condition as it stimulates both the hemispheres in the brain.
A trained musical therapist can effectively help a child affected with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) to encourage cognitive activity in order to inculcate self-awareness and in improving relationships with parents and peers through better communication and interaction skills development.
This treatment works because music, initially, needs an ideal interaction between the player and the instrument which helps the child by acting as a medium of communication. Secondly, the child learns to communicate using musical cues in the beginning stage. This is useful for communicating with the therapists, parents, and peers as well. This helps to build interactive skills in the child effectively, along with efficient communication skills.
Apart from simple instruments, songs and lyrics also make an important part of musical therapy for autism in children. A song can efficiently help such a child to remember the importance to communicate and also to learn the basic interactive skills necessary to lead an ideal social life. Songs can also teach children with ASD to handle themselves in various situations, according to the message that the lyrics of the song.
As autism hinders normal interaction of children with their peers, small groups of children are encouraged to listen to music and songs together. It helps in to instil a new confidence in them and encourages them to comment or sing along with others. Apart from this, dancing to songs or simple music also helps to stimulate the sensory systems, thus helping to improve the fine motor skills of the child.
Music Therapy – Efficient and Effective
Music therapy helps children with autism greatly. In combination with the specific other treatment techniques required for the particular condition of the individual child, music therapy helps enhance a child’s social and communication skills mainly.
Apart from this, the children are able to improve their sensory systems, perceptual/motor skills, social behavior, cognitive abilities, self-reliance, self-awareness and improve self-confidence immensely.