Music Therapy for persons with autism can begin a connection that would otherwise seem impossible. Music has a unique appeal for those on the autism spectrum and can build rapport very quickly. The music therapist will conduct an assessment first, noting the child's communication, emotional, and social needs. Then weekly sessions will focus on establishing joint attention, sharing experiences, building eposodic memories, coordinating actions, referencing others, and developing flexible thinking. Various techniques will be employed, such as drumming, instrument playing, and singing. The music therapist will slowly introduce new experiences and invite the child to collaborate with her.Read an article written by Myra J. Staum, Ph.D., RMT-BC
Consultation with parents or caregivers will follow each session, emphasizing ways to incorporate objectives outside of the therapy session. Progress notes will be kept and occasional videotaping will be conducted for clinical evaluation by the therapist.
Ask your IEP committee to order a music therapy assessment through the school so that music therapy may be added to your child's IEP if recommended. Or, you may be able to use insurance to cover the cost with a physician's referral and prior authorization.
Please contact Rana Zellner Burr, MT-BC if you have any further questions.
Director and Professor of Music Therapy
Willamette University, Salem, Oregon