Music therapy has been around for quite awhile. Therapists believe that music affects a personâ€™s physical body, emotions, mental state, and even the spiritual state. If music is used correctly, it can actually help some patients cope with diseases and disorders. Music therapy has been used in the United States since 1944 and the United Kingdom since the 1960s.
Music therapy can help patients suffering from autism spectrum disorders to physical injuries like spinal cord injuries. Researchers are even conducting studies to determine if music therapy can help treat Parkinsonâ€™s Disease, which is a brain disease that causes its sufferers to shake uncontrollably. Itâ€™s also being used for older people living in hospice care as music therapy is believed to decrease pain perception and provide distraction for people living with chronic or extreme pain.
Music therapy is also being used much more often to treat people with autism, especially young children. Autistic people are often entirely closed off in their own world and they are unable to properly communicate with the people around them. They struggle to interact with the world around them as well.
Music therapy is particularly effective for non-communicative autism sufferers. They cannot speak so their level of interaction with their surroundings is extremely limited. Therapists believe that giving those people access to instruments allows them to communicate feelings they otherwise could not because music is ? at its core ? an expression of emotion.
Music therapy is also believed to help those same people actually learn to communicate better. For instance, itâ€™s not uncommon for children participating in music therapy to begin vocalizing. They often go from mute to being able to hum, grunt or even yell and scream. Chanting is particularly effective in this area as the repetitive sounds usually provoke a reaction from an autistic child better than speaking does. As for autistic people who are able to speak, the repetitive sounds encourage them to repeat them, which they will often do.
For higher-functioning people on the autism spectrum, music gives them a chance to do things like learn to use an instrument. Drums and electric guitars are common instruments that they are exposed to and a lot of autistic people actually have an aptitude for music so they can learn to play very quickly.
There are many places to find out more about music therapy and autism:
Music therapy is one way for people who are on the autism spectrum to connect with the world thatâ€™s often closed off to them. Now, they have a chance to interact with the outside world.