Autism Spectrum Disorders
What is ASD?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder, currently affecting 1 in 68 individuals in the United States (CDC, 2014). While the causes are still unclear, the DSM-5 describes the following two core characteristics of ASD: 1) deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, and 2) restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviors, interests, and activities. As there is presently no cure for ASD, effective interventions such as music therapy are crucial for individuals with ASD to maximize their potential and lead fulfilling lives.
What is the Benefit of Music Therapy for Individuals with ASD?
Over the past seven decades, numerous anecdotal case studies and narratives, as well as systemic reviews, have described the benefits of music therapy interventions for individuals with ASD. Music therapy services for children with ASD are very effective in improving communication, interpersonal skills, personal responsibility, and play. Music therapy interventions can assist individuals with ASD to identify and appropriately express his or her emotions. The interventions can also impact joint attention, memory, and visual recall, as well as enhance auditory processing and other sensory/motor, perceptual/motor, or gross/fine motor skills.
Music is motivating and enjoyable. Music is a very basic human response, spanning all degrees of ability and disability. The malleability of music makes it a medium that can be adapted to meet the needs of each individual. Music therapy addresses multiple developmental issues, simultaneously. Music therapists are able to meet clients at their own individual level and create space for growth.
- Increased attention
- Improved behavior
- Decreased self-stimulation
- Enhanced auditory processing
- Improved cognitive functioning
- Decreased agitation
- Increased socialization
- Improved verbal skills
- Successful and safe self-expression
- Enhanced sensory-motor skills