Autism is a group of disorders, evolving due to the neurological condition, developed before or after birth. The symptoms include social impairment, repetitive or compulsive behaviors, and trouble with communication. Children with autism also have trouble with sensory processing (hypersensitivity to sounds). Early intervention therapies for autism aims at treating behaviors related issues through conventional or complementary treatments such as art therapy.
Art based therapy, such as dance therapy, drama therapy, and music therapy, promotes mental and emotional growth. Art therapy for autism is conducted to address various deficits and problematic behaviors.
For Verbal Communication
One of the hallmarks of autism is impaired communication skill! Children with autism lack self-expression and language (verbal and non-verbal) difficulties. Art therapy for autism helps individuals to ‘speak out their thought’ and express themselves without words. These individuals are highly visual thinkers and can sketch or paint what they think in a picture or image form. The therapy acts a relief from the struggle to express one’s thought through words.
For Social Skills
Individuals with autism struggle with interpreting a person’s voice tone or facial expression and building a conversation is stressful. Working together on group projects (such as music therapy and drama therapy) promotes teamwork and cooperation. Art therapy helps them to understand a person’s point of view and what he/she wants to express.
For Sensory Processing Disorder
Individuals with autism get agitated or simply ‘shut down’ to escape the unpleasant stimulus. Art therapy deals with sensory processing disorder in individuals with autism and helps them to increase tolerance towards textures, smell, light and sound. He/she can learn to handle slimy paste (paper mache craft), the strong smell of color (painting), bright lights (stage) and the sound of instruments (music).
Soothing sounds or music stimulates the brain and directly affects our senses. As music has a direct impact on an individual physical and emotional functioning, music therapy for autism is an effective treatment for people with neurological disorders. This therapy is an important tool for encouraging communication.
An Outlet for Emotion
Music therapy for autism provides an outlet for a person’s built-in emotion. Individuals who suffer from mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, learn to improve their coping skills and confidence, improve self-regulation, self-awareness, verbal and non-verbal expression and reduce anxiety.
Music therapy session:
- Assist with song composing to help them become aware of their feelings and understanding their emotions.
- Help to generate music with various instruments to help them enjoy creativity, nonverbal expression, and an opportunity to work/play in unison.
Music therapists are professionals trained to observe each individual’s behavior and interaction skills. They design a well-planned strategy with a set goal to address their needs. They plan and implement music therapy sessions to develop skills essential to achieve an optimum level of success.