Neurologic music therapy and autism
NMT and Autism:
Neurologic music therapy interventions have been designed to utilize the way in which music interacts in the brain and use this to retrain the brain. NMT has proven to be effective in promoting neuroplasticity, the brains ability to change, and can aid in re-educating the brain.
NMT is effective in building and developing skills of children with autism spectrum disorders. Music processing involves many areas of the brain (cognitive, motor and sensory) and music based interventions can aid in re-shaping the brain and changing behavior. Because music enters the brain globally, the message has more chances of being understood.
Children with autism often have challenges in receptive language skills. When monitoring the brains of children with autism they found that when they were listening to spoken language, the language centers of the brain were not active. However, when listening to singing, the speech centers were active. Interestingly, when the brains of typically developing children were studied, singing did not light up language centers.
Neurologic music therapy is utilized to increase receptive and expressive language, increase motor planning skills, and increase cognitive skills such as sustained attention and following directions.