Music Therapy and Autism

Music therapy interventions focus on enhancing social, communicative, motor/sensory, emotional, and academic/cognitive functioning, or music skills in individuals with ASD. Music therapy services are based on each client’s individual abilities, noting preferences, needs, the family’s values, beliefs, and priorities. Music therapists work in partnership with clients, families, and teams.

The music therapy assessment process is designed to gain an understanding of the individual’s current level of functioning while engaging in a variety of intentional and developmentally sound music experiences. The music therapy intervention plan is based on the assessment outcomes. It integrates a variety of ASD-specific evidence-based strategies and music therapy techniques (e.g., singing/ vocalization, instrument play, movement/ dance, musical improvisation, songwriting/ composition, listening to music, or technology-based music activities). These strategies and techniques support clients in practicing identified and targeted skills. Music therapy sessions provide familiarity, consistency, structure, and predictability – characteristics that support the learning style of individuals with ASD.

Music therapists document clients’ responses and conduct ongoing evaluation of progress towards the achievement of goals while making recommendations for generalization and future intervention options. These measures and suggestions may assist the individual with ASD, family, and team to appreciate success while empowering clients to maximize their functioning in all aspects of their lives.

- American Music Therapy Association

For further reading on music therapy and autism research read more here: Music Therapy and Autism