Parents of autistic children can find searching out suitable treatment options can become a never-ending struggle. Indeed, the hardest part can often be figuring out which new treatments are the most effective, and which are merely speculative. With regards to music and autism, it is widely agreed that music is a great tool for treating autistic children, and can also help in the diagnostic phase.
As has been widely documented, children with autism have difficulty with their ability to communicate, learn successfully, interact in a social setting, and develop new skill sets. But music has been shown to help all of these problems, due mainly in the way which it is structured.
Basically, it is the repetition and different anticipated progressions that make music so effective at reaching autistic children. The children learn patience and tolerance from music, and can apply these lessons in social situations.
In addition to being a great tool for helping to teach and treat autistic children, music can help in the diagnosis of autism as well. For example, exposing a child to music can help determine the level and severity of the specific case. And, specific strengths and weaknesses of the child can also be identified through music.
As a separate benefit, some studies have shown that autistic children are much more eager to listen to music than other children in the same age group are. So while music can be a very valuable tool for teaching autistic children, it can also be a rewarding experience for the child, giving it dual purpose.
One possible reason for this is that studies have shown autistic children have a more refined ability to differentiate between pitch, therefore creating a more enjoyable and interactive experience for them when listening to music.
There are many ways in which to incorporate music and autism. A popular method is to have stories told while incorporating musical elements, thereby increasing an autistic child’s interest and learning ability. Often times, these stores are specifically designed for autistic children, and come as part of a set or series. These can even be purchased based on age or learning-ability.
Basically, the ultimate goal of these music-themed lessons is to increase patience, improve the ability to learn, improve social interaction, and to increase memory. And while the benefits to utilizing musical therapy in treating autism are numerous and effective, perhaps the most important benefit is the enjoyment that an autistic child can get from listening to music
Essentially, music and autism are linked together, and have been proven so repeatedly. Whether this is because of autistic children’s enhanced ability to discern pitch, or an interest in the complex yet repetitive structure of music, the increased response to music is an extremely important learning tool, and should be utilized by parents and teachers appropriately. Ultimately, this will be for the benefit of both parent and child.