Music is a magical tool while working with children having speech and language difficulties! Music therapy is a well-established technique for using musical interaction to help individuals with a wide range of cognitive and emotional challenges to improve their ability to function. By interacting with those on the autism spectrum, the use of music can build skills, lower anxiety, and even develop new communication skills.
What is music therapy? According to the American Music Therapy Association: Music therapy is an evidence-based, allied health profession that uses music interventions to accomplish individualized goals. Through musical responses, a board-certified music therapist assesses emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills. Specifically regarding communication, music therapists are trained to adapt elements of music to promote effective expressive and receptive communication skills. Music interventions focus on enhancing social, communicative, motor/sensory, emotional, behavior, and academic/cognitive functioning.
*A speech language pathologist and qualified musical therapist can work alongside each other collaboratively to build individuals’ skills.
Advantages of Music Therapy:
Communication: Music can aid in speech development and production, and is a perfect medium to encourage and aid in non-verbal communication, too.
Multi sensory: Musical interventions engage multiple senses and appeal to sensory strengths and needs.
Whole Brain Processing: Music is processed in both hemispheres of the brain; therefore, when engaged in musical tasks, many regions of the brain are stimulated simultaneously. The use of music supports mental, emotional and cognitive development. Kids with Autism can benefit significantly from this form of therapy.
Socialization: Musical intervention goes hand in hand with social skills. Turn taking, peer interactions, following directions and engagement can be supported by music. Music therapy helps autistic children learn to relate to us and to others.
Improves Behavior: Restlessness, aggression and throwing tantrums can be reduced through the use of music. Music helps remove various mental blocks, as well as stress and anxiety levels. As the same music is played in a repetitive as well as in a prolonged manner, this can bring about significant changes in social behavior and overall cognitive ability.
Music is Fun: Music is fun, safe, appealing, motivational, and enjoyable! This makes it perfect for therapy. It is fun and engaging for kids with autism to listen and learn through music. Because music is motivating and engaging, it may be used as a natural “reinforcer” for desired responses.
Music therapy is research-based:
- Music therapy interventions are informed by research evidence and incorporate many of the identified ASD-specific evidence-based practices.
- Music therapy services for young children with ASD are very effective for improving communication, interpersonal skills, personal responsibility, and play.
- Music therapy interventions may elicit joint attention; enhance auditory processing, other sensory-motor, perceptual/motor, or gross/fine motor skills and identify and appropriately express emotions.
- Music therapy interventions based on family-centered practice may increase social engagement in the home environment and community.
- Music therapy interventions using musically adapted social stories may modify target behavior and teach new skills.
Bluebee Pals and Music in Speech Therapy: Working in collaboration with a music therapist, Bluebee Pals are a great tool to use when incorporating music into speech therapy to address communication skills. Use one-on-one or invite a Bluebee Pal into peer groups to practice skills. Paired with musical and rhyming apps and videos, Bluebee Pals offer children a special learning friend who makes communication skills practice fun…and therefore, more meaningful. By “speaking and singing” the audio in connected apps, a Bluebee Pal adds just the right touch of warmth and humanity to motivate children. Just connect your Bluebee Pal and get started!https://www.bluebeepals.com/blogs/
Some suggested apps and resources to get you started:
Toddlers Nursery Rhymes Bundle- Kids Songs Collection by PlaneTree Family Productions
ABCmouse Music Videos by Age of Learning, Inc.
Kids Tube: Safe, Fun, Educational Videos & Music for Toddlers & Children by Valiant Rock, Inc.
Kids Song: Educational & Nursery Rhymes by Nguyen Mai
Baby Nursery Rhymes for Kids by IDZ Digital Private Limited
Music Box : Piano, Drum & Xylo by Tiny Tots App Club