A variety of conditions fall under the term “autism”. Individuals with autism often have difficulty connecting and communicating. Many also have sensory issues such as hyper sensitivity (overly-stimulated) or hypo sensitivity (under stimulated). Although some sensitivity issues relate to sound, music has shown to help children on the autism spectrum with emotional and social development.
Music is often used as a key learning technique throughout a child’s lifetime. It can be a valuable tool to help draw out communication and forms of expression from those who struggle socially or who are non-verbal. Rory Allen conducted a physiological study that showed children reacted to music in the same way physiologically whether they had autism or not. This universal reaction could be explained by music affecting individuals “independent of any emotional understanding or imagination”. The song Gangham Style although written in Korean, is a great example of how rhythm and music can speak to individuals of all languages and backgrounds. Something as simple as a repetitive beat can attract a child’s attention. Introducing music to children with autism at a young age can encourage growth that may otherwise be inhibited or stunted.
For more information and resources on planning for your loved one with special needs, browse through our website at specialneedsforum.org.