Music Therapy in Adolescents with Autism

Did you know that music can affect the mental and physical portions of your brain, which is actually most of what is used in it (Capture the Power of Music)? When it comes to autism, music therapy can affect them in miraculous ways (Alicia Barksdale). There have been times where certified music therapists, like Alicia Barksdale, have caused amazing improvements in social skills, communication skills, and behavioral skills, with just one session, and others, where it took months.

Over the course of six months, music therapy can affect teenagers with autism by improving their social skills, any or all of their communication skills, and control over their behavior and emotion. Group music therapy sessions create social interaction between everyone, which causes them to talk and form music together, creating teamwork. There are some people who are not social at all to begin with, and would probably be better off starting with individual music therapy sessions (Music Therapy in Education Setting). Another person started with individual music therapy, immediately showed improvement in many ways, and asked to try group therapy instead (Music Therapy, Alvin). It could also be the opposite, where they started in group therapy, but later asked to try individual because it is more personalized and maybe suit them better. (Alicia Barksdale).

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It is all about personal preference. If a student were to be in one type (group or individual) and they or their parent/guardian requested to try the other, they could also switch that way (Music Therapy in Education Setting). Individual music therapy sessions also encourage improvement of social skills as the music therapist sometimes writes music with the student (A Comprehensive Guide to Music Therapy). Writing music with a music therapist encourages creativity as well as interaction with the therapist as they come up with lyrics and music. With sessions being more individualized, it encourages the student to open up more to the music therapist.

On the other hand, in group therapy sessions, students who are more socially active influence others to become more social. There is also the possibility that some students in music therapy already have good social skills. They could be using music therapy to improve other skills Going from not talking at all to some or many words/sentences is one way communication can be benefitted through music therapy. Some students just connect with music in ways that immediately or over time, cause them to communicate with the help of music therapy (Effects of Music Therapy on Children with Disabilities). Some forms of music therapy that would help them communicate is writing their own music, singing along with music, or playing an instrument with a music therapist (Inner Power of Music and Music Therapy). Going from choosing not to talk at all to talking openly is another way music therapy has affected adolescents’ communication skills through music.

Some people simply do not like to talk and are very unsocial. If music therapy is the right choice for them, it may still take time. Being very shy or choosing not to communicate to expressing themselves through music or singing is still a major improvement even if it is not communication through words. A person connecting naturally with music could impact whether or not music therapy benefits certain skills. According to Ms.

Alicia Barksdale, some students with ASD or brain damage just naturally connect and relate to music in a way the many others don’t (Alicia Barksdale). Music therapy can teach people with ASD self control (Effects of Music Therapy on Children with Disabilities). Music all together can help calm people down. (Autistic Kids Find Music Therapeutic). It has also helped some students with autism with focus and concentration skills (Why does Music Therapy Help in Autism?). Music helping students with autism overnight does not happen often.

It varies with all different people, and it may not even happen (The Effects of Improvisational Music Therapy on Joint Attention Behaviors in Autistic Children). It could take days, week, months, or even years for skills like emotional and behavioral control to be maintained through music therapy (Autistic Kids Find Music Therapeutic). Music therapy may not even help some people at all (Alicia Barksdale). Music therapy helps people maintain a good behavior at certain appropriate times. Some music tells students what to do (Magical Music for Life Foundation). Special music is written for individualized students (Music Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorders).

Music written for students will tell them what to do, like sit down, or dance (Music for Children with Special Needs). Students will write music with their music therapist with commands (Magical Music for Life Foundation). They will say what they want to do or what they are feeling and come up with songs based off those. For example, if they were ecstatic, they could write a song about dancing or dance (A Comprehensive Guide to Music Therapy). Music therapy will teach students about their emotions and what they are feeling.

(Alicia Barksdale). Students will write songs have their mood in it. (Alicia Barksdale). They will choose what they are feeling and write a song in that mood, like sad, happy, or tired, etc. (Alicia Barksdale). When it comes to music therapy, people with autism that participate in music therapy have success based on many factors, like how social they are to begin with, if they enjoy music, whether they have controlled behavior or not, whether they like group or individual music therapy, and much more.

The amount of time varies for every individual in music therapy. Plus, since everyone is different, people will change at different speeds. Overall, music therapy does help people with autism in controlling their emotional and behavioral reactions, their social skills, their communication skills, and it helps them reflect how, what, when, and why they are feeling what they feel every day of their lives