Autism and Music Lessons

9 Apr 2015

 

At Caroline Springs School of Music we have a great number of children taking lessons with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

 

Our teachers are expert in approaching students with ASD. We have seen first hand the many benefits to kids with ASD taking music lessons.

 

It is well known that people of all ages and abilities can benefit from music lessons. Learning an instrument or singing supports emotional, cognitive and social development in many students throughout the world. An active involvement within a music school with bona fide credentials such as ours helps to promote wellness by enhancing memory, managing stress, and improving communication skills. Our teachers are all expert in helping students with autism spectrum disorder.

 

A 2004 study documented in the Journal of Music Therapy found that music used with children and teens with ASD can increase a child’s focus and attention, improve social behaviors, and increase a child’s ability to communicate through a variety of means.

 

There have been numerous worldwide studies finding children and adults with ASD respond very well to music. Often, individuals with autism respond in a positive way to music when little else is able to get their attention.  Music has been shown to have powerful healing benefits. We have seen many students with ASD achieve amazing results in their music and it has impacted the rest of their lives in palpable, beneficial ways.

 

Studies have found that children with autism showed more emotional connections and communicated with others better in activities that involved music than those without music. These children also responded to the instructors and facilitators requests more readily during music therapy sessions than in activities without music.

 

Qualified instructors like those at Caroline Springs School of Music can use music with children to improve social skills and help with cognitive skills and coordination. Music and movement games, along with listening, learning basic music symbols and signs, all help to unlock neural pathways in one’s brain.

 

In a 2012 study of children with autism, found that weekly music lessons seemed to improve overall behavior, with the most improvement seen in children with attention issues. Children in this study experienced hour-long music lessons once a week, and their conduct was monitored against a checklist of target behavior like aggression, restlessness and noisiness. More than half the group improved by one or two points on the scale after the music lessons.

 

A large percentage of children with autism are nonverbal, and many low-functioning children have difficulty following verbal commands, some have a difficult time with social awareness like understanding body language.

 

A study in 2004 found music to improve the mapping of sounds to actions by connecting the auditory and motor sections of the brain; this may help improve understanding of verbal commands. By pairing music with actions, and with repetitive training, the brain pathways needed for speech can be reinforced and improved.

 

It has been found that children with autism are more sensitive to anxiety than the average child, as they are often unable to filter out provoking stimuli. A study, conducted at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse in 2006, found some success in reducing anxiety in patients with autism through music. The participants who received music therapy appeared to have decreased anxiety-related behaviors.  

 

Classical music or music with a steady rhythm is often thought to be the best for alleviating anxiety in children with autism due to the regular pulse or beat of the music.

 

Of course; and most importantly of all, music lessons are fun for children with autism. Music lessons can bring about changes in social behavior and cognitive ability through repetition, and the best way to keep children working at something is to ensure that they enjoy it. All of our lessons are ALWAYS fun!

 

Never underestimate the power of music! Music lessons can improve social skills, behavior, anxiety and more. We have seen again and again, first hand evidence of the many positive effects of music in people’s lives, it may very well be the most beneficial of all activities for your child.

 

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