At this point, it's important to differentiate the difference between music therapy and music instruction. Music instruction refers to the study of music or music lessons where a person learns to play a musical instrument. Well, it can be argued that playing a musical instrument can be therapeutic but it's not the scope of music therapy. In music therapy, the therapist uses music to achieve certain individualized goals with the patient.
What Can Music Therapy Do For Autistic Patients?
On the most basic level, music therapy can help to improve the skills of autistic patients such as self-reliance, motor or perceptual skills, cognition, behavior, sensory issues, social skills, and communication skills. By enhancing these skills, autistic patients can integrate more easily into society. At the same time, they will also grow in confidence and learn to be more self-sufficient. To build trust and develop personal connections, it's the challenge of the music therapist to strike a chord with the autistic patient through music experiences. Due to nature of music which is both engaging and affecting, it's perfectly suited to be used as a tool to stimulate a particular response. For some reason, music has a profound effect of autistic patients so it's quite normal for them to respond positively to music therapy. Patients who are suffering from sensory aversions may find music therapy to be effective in helping them to handle auditory processing differences and sound sensibilities.
How Do Music Therapists Work with Autistic Patients?
Working with small groups or individuals, music therapists use a range of music and techniques to provide the right treatment to autistic patients. To develop an effective treatment strategy, the music therapist needs to analyze the autistic patient's needs and strengths. The goals and objectives of the treatments have to be laid out so that the progress of the patients can be monitored.
A music therapist can use spontaneous musical improvisation to encourage the autistic patients to express themselves, thereby, improving their communication and social skills. For instance, the music therapist may play the guitar or even sing as the patient produces sounds. This is an effective way to give support to the patients so that they are confident enough to create their own musical language. The patient will learn the joys of two-way communication and also tap into a wider spectrum of emotions. A professional music therapist will know how to formulate developmental plans to maximize the potential of the patient.
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