What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is an evidence-based allied health service similar to physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology that uses music as the therapeutic tool to address physical, cognitive, social, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and/or behavior needs.
Why Should I Try Music Therapy?
- Due to the motivational factors provided by music and the brain and body’s response to music, music therapists can often gain unique outcomes.
- Research suggests that music is processed more successfully and more efficiently than speech in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Music can be a powerful motivator and a positive way to structure interaction and to encourage communication and expression for individuals with ASD.
- Music provides concrete, multi-sensory stimulation (visual, tactile, auditory, proprioceptive, vestibular), which can help to engage individuals with ASD and help them address sensory issues.
- Music is processed in both hemispheres of the brain, helping to remediate some speech and language skills and improve cognitive functioning.
- Movement in music and instrument playing can improve fine and gross motor skills, strength, and endurance.
- Music therapy provides opportunities for successful experiences by focusing on how strengths can be used to address each individual’s specific needs.
How Do I Know if Someone is Qualified to Provide Music Therapy Services?
- Qualified music therapists carry the credential MT-BC indicating that they have passed the national, independent certification board exam and have maintained awareness of current practice through continuing education or retesting. DO NOT work with anyone claiming to be a music therapist without the MT-BC designation.
- To confirm MT-BC status go to: http://www.cbmt.org/certificant_search
Client Benefits from Music Therapy
- Help develop verbal communication, speech and language skills
- Increase appropriate social interaction such as joint-attention and turn-taking
- Stimulate speech
- Improve speech articulation
- Improve expressive and receptive communication
- Facilitate inclusion
- Encourage verbal and nonverbal social interaction
- Structure positive social interaction and decrease isolation
- Improve sustained, selective, alternating, and divided attention
- Improve executive function skills such as organization, problem-solving, decision-making skills, reasoning, and comprehension
- Improve management of cognitive processes, such as working memory and planning
- Improve short- and long-term memory and recall
- Help develop academic skills
- Help to reinforce desired responses
- Help reduce negative and/or self-stimulatory responses
- Encourage to attempt new tasks
- Improve inattentive behaviors such as restlessness, noisiness, and aggression
- Enhance auditory processing and other sensory-motor, perceptual/motor, gross and fine motor skills
- Improve motor coordination
- Improve laterality (side-to-side movement) and directionality (up/down, right/left, back/forth movement)
- Help learn to tolerate and integrate auditory, visual, and tactile stimuli
- Improve ability to identify and appropriately express emotions
- Provide structure and sense of security
- Increase self-esteem
- Improve mood control and affective expression
- Decrease stress and anxiety
- Provide an outlet for safe self-expression