What does the research say about music therapy for autism and its side-effects?
Would you like to have a treatment plan for your loved one with Autism? After seeing lengthy listings of potential side-effects for medications designed to treat everything from the common cold to heart disease, are you leary of what the side-effects might be for music therapy? When you are facing any health challenge it can be daunting to decipher the news to assess things that would be truly helpful. So researchers seek to help by testing and validating different strategies.
Cochrane Reviews base their findings on study results that meet certain quality criteria, since they maintain that the most reliable studies will provide the best evidence for making decisions about health care. In 2014 a review of existing research about the use of Music Therapy in the treatment of Autism was reviewed. The results were based on 10 studies with a total of 165 study participants. The studies examined the short- and medium-term effect of music therapy interventions (one week to seven months) for children with ASD.
The key results of these reviews concluded that Music therapy was superior to 'placebo' therapy or standard care with respect to social interaction, non-verbal and verbal communicative skills, initiating behavior, and social-emotional reciprocity. Music therapy was also superior to 'placebo' therapy or standard care in the areas of social adaptation, joy, and the quality of parent-child relationships. None of the included studies reported any side effects caused by music therapy.
If you would like to get started helping a loved one, the Remo Drum Table Activities Program was developed by a board certified Music Therapist and Director of Performing Arts at a school that serves people with autism. This curriculum is available for free with downloadable lesson plans and videos, including play-along portions. It's a great way to get started
helping a loved one while locating a music therapist. (Visit: CBMT.org)
Check out these totally free program resources.
George Thompson & Terri Wiener, MT-BC
American Music Therapy Association
Fact Sheet: Music Therapy as a Treatment Modality for Autism