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Music & singing – benefits for the autistic child

Music & singing – benefits for the autistic child

Music, singing and dance has become commonly used in autism therapy. Many use music therapy as a method to treat autism.  Research and studies on the benefits of music for the autistic child can be found all over the internet.

Numerous studies and research projects have proven the benefits of music therapy. But this particular article is not intended to give you the medical benefits of music in autism but rather an overview of why it is such a great (and very easy to implement) tool for all parents to use in the car or at home.

We all love music and to an extent we all love singing (even if we are not very good at it).  Music stimulates both hemispheres of our brain, rather than just one. It can remind us of years gone by, bring back happy thoughts and it can also trigger memories that were long forgotten.

The advantage of music is that it can be used in the classroom and at home to support cognitive activity:

  • Music helps build self-awareness and improve relationships with others.
  • Music and singing can encourage communication and many autistic people have said that it is so much easier for them to sing rather than speak.
  • Music can be done in groups in class and at home.  It can be taken on a plane journey, into a restaurant and is mobile.
  • Music can be a group activity or with the aid of headphones, a very private one.
  • Music can relax a person and in some instances rejuvenate a tired mind.
  • Music can also be an avenue to help improve behaviour in an autistic child.  Studies found that music connects the auditory and motor parts of the brain which helps autistic children better understand and obey verbal commands.
  • Music can encourage social skills development.  Case studies have been written that indicate that children with autism are more socially engaged with their peers in a learning session where music is present than when the session does not have music.

With anxiety affecting so many children on the autism spectrum – the introduction of music in the home, car and their routines can help increase their tolerance to environmental input and frustration which in turn can decrease anxious behaviours.

Like with any autism interventions, early interventions and/or autism therapies.  Music intervention (music therapy) only works when done repeatedly, over longer periods of time.  Music should become a constant in your life, a consistent part of your child’s daily routine.

Amazing K is a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. We are a private autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 years. Our learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. We offer Individualized Education Programs involved, ABA, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum. Read more about this Johannesburg Autism School here.