Research: Music helps autistic children to communicate

From a new Canadian study:

Music has been identified as a strength in people with Autism Spectrum Disorder….

Fifty-one children aged 6–12 years with autism were randomized to receive 8–12 weeks of music (n = 26) or non-music intervention (n = 25). The music intervention involved use of improvisational approaches through song and rhythm to target social communication. The non-music control was a structurally matched behavioural intervention implemented in a non-musical context. Groups were assessed before and after intervention on social communication and resting-state functional connectivity of fronto-temporal brain networks. Communication scores were higher in the music group post-intervention (difference score = 4.84, P = .01).

More here.


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  • It’s nice to see research back up something that’s widely believed, based on personal experiences, among music therapists and parents of autistic children.

  • As a nurse I know that music therapy is very important. However, a lot of it is done informally i.e. any type of music will suffice.

    We really need to turn the arts therapies into evidence based medical practice. In the case of music, for ex. this would involve therapists basing their practice on the results of studies that help determine such things as what types of melodies, tempos etc provide the best results in specified situations and illnesses, just the way we in medicine and nursing specify which medications and treatments work best for various diseases.

    Music is indeed medicine and in certain situations it is important to treat it as such

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