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Pilot Study Investigating the Efficacy of Tempo-Specific Rhythm Interventions in Music-Based Treatment Addressing Hyper-Arousal, Anxiety, System Pacing, and Redirection of Fight-or-Flight Fear Behaviors in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) | Abstract
ISSN: 2090-2719

Journal of Biomusical Engineering
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Research Article

Pilot Study Investigating the Efficacy of Tempo-Specific Rhythm Interventions in Music-Based Treatment Addressing Hyper-Arousal, Anxiety, System Pacing, and Redirection of Fight-or-Flight Fear Behaviors in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) resemble fight-or-flight avoidance responses resulting from habitual states of fear, possibly induced by sensory processing issues, causing on-going stress and deregulation of systemic pacing. This study hypothesized that patterned, tempo-based, rhythm interventions, at 60-beats per minute (pbm), can regulate and induce systemic pacing, reduce repetitive anxiety behaviors and enable focus and calm in persons with ASD. Eight-week pilot study investigated the influence of four sensorimotor rhythm interventions for habituation (entrainment) of systemic inner rhythms, pacing, stress, anxiety, and repetitive behavior reduction, ultimately yielding eyecontact, attention, motor planning, and memory. Six subjects (n = 6) ages 8–12, with ASD and minimal expressive language, were treated in 45-minute weekly one-on-one music therapy session, over eight weeks. A rating scale tracked responses and progress in vivo per session, and on video-tape. Lifeshirt heart-monitor vest with embedded wireless sensors, worn by each subject during the first, fifth and eight sessions, tracked heart-rate data. Results support the hypothesis that highly structured rhythmic interventions at a slow tempo can yield levels of systemic pacing, motor planning, visual contact, attention, reduction of anxiety and

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