Benefits of Music Therapy
Music therapy is an interpersonal process in which a trained music therapist uses music to help persons to improve or maintain their health.

Music therapists primarily help persons improve their observable level of functioning and self-reported quality of life in various goal areas including:
*cognitive functioning
*communication skills
*motor skills
*emotional and affective development
*behavior and social skills

Music therapists facilitate a variety of music interventions such as singing, songwriting, listening to and discussing music, moving to music, and creating music to achieve measurable treatment goals and objectives.

All objectives are specifically measurable and data is taken at each music therapy session to document progress made. Monthly progress reports are sent to parents or guardians when appropriate. When establishing a treatment plan, the music therapist works in conjunction with the person’s IEP, ISP, or other interrelated service plan to provide treatment in conjunction with other services provided.

Music therapy can benefit persons with autism as well as other types of developmental disabilities. Music is a form of communication that can be non-threatening and soothing for the child with autism. Since children having autism are hypersensitive to external stimuli, they tend to show a strong affinity for listening to music and playing musical instruments. Music therapy expands this connection to using music as a tool to support stronger speech skills and better eye contact. It can also be used in strengthening other areas in a person’s life.

Children with autism who rarely or never speak can respond to music. They may even sing. Music therapy provides a tool that can bridge the gap between a non-communicative child and one who can begin speaking in words and phrases.

Children and adults with autism respond so well to music that it can be used as an interface to help them learn non-music tasks. For instance if the child is shy about making eye contact, musical games that involve looking to the therapist for cues as to when to play an instrument may be utilized. See the photos link for examples of music therapy activities. For further information about music therapy go to the American Music Therapy Association, Inc., website at

Benefits of Art
Participation in art is an interpersonal experience in which an art professional, experienced in working with developmental disabilities, engages participants in rewarding art activities that provide experience in motor skills, social skills, cognitive functioning, and communication. During the art activity participants experience decision making, following directions, creative expression, concentration, self-esteem resulting from achievement, and the confidence to try new projects. Like music, art activities can be ordered to any ability level. The Barry-Lawrence County art program provides art as a rewarding experience rather than art therapy which typically takes a diagnostic and treatment approach in psychiatric and other treatment settings. Click on the photos link for pictures of completed art projects.

Comments are closed.