Throughout the history of time, music has been a powerful way for people to come together and engage with one another. Music class is included in schools everywhere because of the many benefits it can bring. Specifically, for children on the ASD spectrum, music provides unique sensory experiences. The various sounds, tones, and melodies provide a new experience for the children.
Many children with autism are either non-verbal or currently developing verbal skills. These children have difficulty expressing themselves. Music can be an outlet for expression and help children discover new sides of themselves and also see the world in a different way. It can help with anxiety by allowing the child a method of releasing tension and stress that they otherwise would not be able to express.
Playing music can encourage a child to be more social and communicate with other children. When we look at a band playing a concert, we see that all of the musicians are working together cohesively and building off the sounds that each person is making. Introducing musical instruments can help facilitate positive interactions with others.
Think about when you hear a new song on the radio that you like. You immediately will begin to have your own interpretation of the lyrics and the instruments used. The song could help you learn a new word or expression. The song could help you better understand a certain social situation or give you a new perspective. Seeing and understanding the world from someone else’s view is a valuable and important life skill.
Putting children together to play or listen to music can help them interact with one another and build the confidence needed to make that big step towards initiating a conversation. These types of activities often lead to dancing which not only provides exercise for the children but it also helps build fine motor skills and stimulates the senses. Most importantly, music is fun!
Hooper, Wigram, Carson, & Lindsay (2011) concluded that a practitioner can use “musical experiences to develop a relationship that promotes health by resolving an individual’s physical, emotional and psychological difficulties” or can promote “health by providing music as a stimulus to reduce or eliminate inappropriate behaviors that tend to be considered an ‘unhealthy’” (p. 23).
One of our Registered Behavior Technicians and a current Masters level student in ABA has started a music program at Positive Synergy. I got a chance to talk with Johnny about this and he said the following: “These past few months have been very exciting at Positive Synergy.
After nearly a year in the making, the music program is up and running and has been very well received by both our kiddos and staff alike. The music program concentrates on further developing gross and fine motor skills, honing in on listening and imitation skills, promoting interaction and cooperation among all of the students, and most importantly, providing an outlet for the students to plug in and express themselves with the multitude instruments that are offered.
The Positive Synergy music program is excited to further grow with group sessions, as well as incorporating music in ABA sessions and providing individual lessons with regards to piano, bass, and drums. This summer is going to "ROCK!”.
Below is Excerpt from the full-length documentary:
MUSIC IS MY THERAPY