The benefits of music therapy for autism have been evaluated by several institutions as of 2011. Many music therapists and autism specialists highly recommend implementing musical therapy in early childhood, as this may help to create a more rounded adult who may potentially be able to be more self-reliant. Generally, it is believed that music therapy allows those with autism to overcome obstacles, such as social anxiety and underdeveloped speech, while creating a focused interest among several others.
Many theorize that starting an autistic child in music therapy may greatly benefit that child in adulthood. This is because the skills and confidence learned through music therapy may later translate to independence. Children generally are easier to teach and may be more responsive to different methods of music therapy for autism. Using music therapy at an earlier age may also make it easier for the child to develop essential skills.
Perhaps the most important skills learned through music therapy for autism are communication skills and social skills. Most autistic people have some form of social anxiety and rarely interact with others. Therapy through music not only provides a much needed means of expression, but also a way to interact with others while playing instruments, singing and dancing. Music provides a safe and neutral way for those with autism to interact with others, while still feeling relatively safe and excited. Through the use of music, a person may also learn how to speak in full sentences as well as find a new outlet in which to express thought and emotions.
By using music therapy for autism, a person may be able to not only learn how to speak complete thoughts, but may also learn to from his or her own grammatically correct sentences. Several people with autism enjoy the vocal aspects of music and will often repeat syllables that are sung by instructors. Over time, this may progress to whole words and then phrases. Soon, sentences may be used and, along with other teaching methods, the autistic person may learn to apply these therapy lessons in everyday life.
Using music therapy for autism also allows those suffering from autism to focus their attention on something positive and motivating. This may in turn lower anxiety and stress level,s which tend to be higher in people with autism. The ability to focus may also help someone with autism feel more connected with the world and learn to form interests. This may all potentially help form a greater sense of self-reliance and independence.