Music Therapy In The Treatment Of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) | 12519
Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism
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Music therapy (MT) has a long tradition in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and there are many clinical
case studies and single group studies suggesting that music therapy enhances social communication skills. However, in
contrast to behavioral approaches such as ABA, MT and other developmental are still regarded as a ?promising interventions?
rather than a ?best practices?. Hesitancy to endorse them stems from limited empirical support and lack of theoretical clarity
regarding the mechanisms by which it promotes children?s social emotional functioning.
This review draws on empirical studies from a broad range of psychosocial interventions for improving communication
skills in young children with ASD to ( 1) Demonstrate that ?staged? interventions which systematically deliver child- led prior
to adult- led strategies to reflect the developmental progression of early prelinguistic skills are more effective than interventions
which are purely behavioral or which mix behavioral and developmental approaches unsystematically for improving targeted as
well as untargeted skills which generalize to novel settings, people and stimuli and are maintained over time; (2) Provide evidence
that contingent imitation, especially exact imitation ( same object, action, interaction time) can produce dramatic improvements
in social communication within a short time frame; (3) Explain the relative advantage of MT over other approaches by embodying
?staging? and ?exact contingent imitation? as conditions for implementing every procedure while enabling small dynamic nuances
that automatically ensure variation to develop ?interaction themes?.
A random control trial of 300 children eight countries (TIME-A) is now underway to assess the effectiveness improvisational
MT for improving social communications of children 4-7, the effects of varying dosage and cost effectiveness. This review
examines the potential of TIME-A to provide compelling evidence for the effectiveness of MT and opportunities to examine the
causal mechanisms by which MT improves social emotional functioning.
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