Autism Spectrum Disorder Music Therapy parenting a child with autism Uncategorized

Connecting With An Autistic Child Through Music

Connecting with an autistic child can be a challenge, but one medium that does seem to deliver results is music therapy. A collaborative study from China into music therapy in children
with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) showed that it can improve their social skills, and help create a connection between parent and child. If you have been struggling to connect with a child who has ASD then it is certainly worth trying music therapy. There are several routes you can take, from playing music to getting them to create it.

Here are some top tips for connecting with an autistic child through music.

Autistic Child Listening To Music

A boy in a park, engrossed in music, as part of the process of connecting with an autistic child through music. - Autism Connect

It’s widely accepted that the rhythm of certain types of music can act as a calming influence on children with ASD. Slow, soft music can help with anxiety, whilst a more upbeat and loud song
helps to stimulate the nervous system. There are many documented examples of certain types of music helping those with ASD; for instance, Pink Floyd has been cited as one band that particularly helps form connections and ease some of the symptoms of ASD. Of course, each child is different, and it may be other artists are more suited to their conditions.

Making Music

A man playing guitar on a wooden platform, connecting with an autistic child through music. - Autism Connect

Trying to get an autistic child to play music can also be hugely beneficial. This can start by you playing a simple instrument to them and getting them to mimic what you’re doing. Over time,
you may develop this into a specific interest for the child, giving them an outlet as they enter young adulthood, and helping them manage their condition. There’s no specific instrument that
is best, and you may simply start with something such as a basic keyboard, such as a Yamaha PSS-A50. It’s low-cost, easy to use, and allows you to play with different sounds.

Singing is another good method of connecting with your child. An article by Forbes on the subject suggests that it can become a form of communication between you and your child
where before, such interactions had been challenging. Indeed, in the cited article, a mother was able to connect with her child by making up songs around most daily tasks, to a point where the
child would sing back in response. Again, in terms of longevity, this could lead to your child developing talent, as Spectrum News 1 reports Raya Smith did, giving them an outlet beyond
their formative years.


How To Approach

How do you get started connecting with a child with ASD? As we’ve suggested, keeping it simple in the first instance is best – maybe play them some CDs you think might work, or try
working songs into the day to see if that gets a positive response. Set some time aside for them to tinker with instruments, and don’t invest heavily at first, as results could vary. One child may
respond to a keyboard, another may not.

Once an interest has been established, it is worth thinking about recording your child’s music to play back to them. A simple laptop and microphone setup should work – programs such as Audacity are great for taking music therapy to the next level. You can even use an iPhone, but it’s still worth having a decent microphone. Shout4Music is an authority on microphones and suggests something like the PoP Voice Lavalier Microphone, which is a simple plug-and-play but without compromising on sound quality. If you’re going to use a laptop, a Blue Snowball is another solid choice – both will give clear sound and ensure your child’s efforts are recorded cleanly for them to enjoy back.

Why record? It creates an activity you can enjoy together, and one based on music has proven to be therapeutic. It allows your child to experiment with sounds, and creates links between what they do, playing music, and the outcome, listening back. Also, it can create a lifelong interest, and as we’ve demonstrated above, it can be a vital outlet for autistic children and help them build social skills as well as practical skills.

 A woman standing in front of a camera, connecting with an autistic child through music. - Autism Connect


Music therapy has been proven to help build connections with autistic children, and yet there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Experiment with singing, performing, and recording, and find
what works best for you.


  1. Music has been so helpful in my sessions as a speech therapist. I find that many autistic children who are gestalt language processors are more attuned to music and melodies.

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