Music has become a widely used and important tool of treatment for people with autism spectrum disorder, having many benefits in a variety of different ways. As a universal and easily accessible language, requiring no words, music captivates many children with ASD in some undefinable way. They enjoy musical experiences because they are often “good at it”. They are intrigued by either the rhythmic qualities of music or its melodic and harmonic forms, and they can vocalize and communicate through music, all without the need for words, understanding its fundamental messages. Children with ASD thrive within music activities and it is often a preferred medium for them to engage with. They can rely on the music, anticipate and predict it with ease and familiarity, and it can extend their focus for long periods of time. Music has the power to supply all of these requirements for any child with ASD.
In my practice I use music in a variety of ways such as listening, expressing emotions, dancing, singing, improvising on different instruments, taking turns, or following instructions. As a behaviour therapist and musician, I see the huge benefits music has on my clients; they become more confident, develop their expressive language skills and engage with another person. It is a safe place for them to develop social communication skills, as well as their self-identity within a structured routine and rituals, ultimately improving and supporting their emotional well-being, and overall quality of life.