Latest News » The surprising role music may play with autism

Music may help ease some symptoms of Autism.

Once a child has been diagnosed with autism, it is often a difficult task for any parent to determine the right course of action when it comes to treatment. After all, currently there is no known cure for the affliction, which can present itself in many different ways. However, there are certain methods that have been known to at least lessen some of the symptoms. For instance, though scientific research about autism and nutrition is lacking, many families have testified that their children have benefited from specially tailored diets for autistic children.

Another form of treatment that has nothing to do with any medical prescription is music therapy. The Poughkeepsie Journal recently published a story on the Institute of Music and Health in Verbank, New York. The facility offers an array of programs intended to harness the healing power of music.

Director Peter Muir, who holds a PhD in musicology, explains that the methods employed by the institute are based on a theory devised by New York doctor John Diamond. In the case of autistic children, Muir explains that musical therapy can help moderate the amygdala – the part of the brain that handles emotional responses.

"Music – particularly when done as we teach it – helps reduce anxiety, fear and stress and tackles the problem of autism at its roots," Muir told the source.
And, Muir is not the first to pick up on the calming effect that music can have on people with the disorder. In fact, the Boston Conservatory actually worked with the Autism Higher Education Foundation to develop a program that pairs young autistic musicians with Boston Conservatory Music Education graduate students for weekly lessons.

It is up to every parent to determine how to proceed with his or her child's treatment, but, given the complex nature of this disorder, it may be worth it to investigate these emotion-driven methods.