Activity: Dance n Movement Therapy

Autistic individuals show an uncommon interest in music. Studies show music and music therapy techniques to have significant, positive influences in the treatment of autism and participation in music is a non-threatening way to allow the individual to experience outside stimuli while avoiding direct human contact.

Activities and techniques incorporating music stimuli play potentially rich and varied roles in therapy for persons with autism. Music therapy techniques can, for example, facilitate and support the desire to communicate. No universal rules of therapy can be applied. While one individual may respond positively to a certain technique, another might easily be harmed. Music can be a powerful tool, for example, breaking patterns of isolation by providing alternative relationships with musical stimuli.

It does have significant positive effects upon autistic behaviors and disorders and can, therefore, provide a valuable adjunct to available treatment services.

Breaking the pattern of isolation and engaging the autistic individual in external rather than internal activities and relationships can prove central to addressing other cognitive and perceptual problems.

Autistic persons, especially in the early stages of relationship building, often physically reject or ignore social contact attempts by other persons. Music therapy can provide instead an initial object relation with an instrument. Instead of threatening, the shape, sound, and feel of the instrument will often fascinate the individual. The instrument can thus serve as an intermediary between client and therapist, providing an initial point of contact. Listening experiences can provide additional tactile and visual experience and help to raise awareness of sound and of another person creating that sound.

Music therapy techniques in the area of the communication attempt to address speech/vocalization production processes and to stimulate mental processes with respect to conceptualization, symbolization, and comprehension.