The engaging nature and accessibility of music often elicits responses of people of all ages, cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds and degrees of abilities in daily life. Music therapy is known as an established health profession where physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individuals are addressed by the use of music within a therapeutic relationship. The inclusion of music interventions to perform individualized goals is clinical and evidence-based. For instance, interventions like these are essential for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) individuals to maximize their potential and lead fulfilled lives. Special needs individuals often have difficulty in expressing themselves in words and music therapy provides possible approaches for communication that can be helpful.
Through musical involvement in treatment that includes creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music, clients’ abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives. Among music therapy techniques are singing or vocalization, instrument play, movement/dance, musical improvisation, songwriting/ composition, listening to music, or computer-based music activities.
How does Music Therapy helps Special Needs Children ?
Music therapy interventions can focus on development in cognitive function, behavioral, physical, emotional and social skills. Music therapy can also enhance development in communication and sensorimotor skills. The adaptability of music therapy can apply various strategies to encourage a child’s participation in the least restrictive environment. In music therapy interventions, the application of inherent order of music is able to set behavioral expectations, provide reassurance, and maintain structure for children with special needs. Characteristics of music therapy sessions such as familiarity, consistency, structure and predictability are able to support the learning style of special needs individuals especially ASD individuals.
- Music Addresses Developmental Needs
Cognitive Skills – by putting academic concepts to music
Motor Skills – increase gross and fine motor skills through instrument playing
Instrument playing provides sensory feedback that naturally reinforces and assists in maintaining attention to increase motor skill development.
- Music Supports Social-Emotional Regulation
Emotions can be regulated and children are able to express themselves through both verbal and non-verbal communication. By labelling emotions receptively and expressively through songs, it can assist in self-awareness and responsiveness toward peers
- Music Addresses Behavioral Needs
With songs that can reinforce following one and two-step instructions for daily routines, music therapy assists with self-help tasks at home and in the school environment.
- Music Supports Children With Medical Considerations
Many special needs children often need to adapt to frequent and long hospital stays, using medical equipment at home, and maintaining prescribed medications. Hence, music therapy is able to offer positive stimulation, developmentally appropriate social interaction, and self-expressive opportunities for children who experience these things.
Currently, music therapy is identified as an emerging intervention by the National Autism Center (2015). Besides that, special education classroom can be assisted by music therapists by incorporating music into their academic curriculum. The ability of music in stimulating attention and increasing motivation of special needs children can let them to participate more fully in other aspects of the educational setting.
- 认知技能 – 将学术概念融入音乐
- 运动技能 – 通过乐器演奏提高大小肌肉运动技能