Music can improve social communication skills in autism

In 2018 researchers from the University of Montreal and McGill University in Montreal, Canada, published a report showing that music intervention alters brain activation and improves social communication skills in children with autism.

The researchers evaluated the effects of an 8- to 12-week music intervention in 6-12 year-old children with autism, comparing music therapy to a non-music control intervention to see if the music intervention would improve social communication skills and alter brain connectivity.

The research was conducted in Montreal in 2016. Before and after the intervention, caregivers were asked to report on their child’s behaviour, and the children completed a resting state MRI scan. The music intervention used musical instruments, songs, and rhythmic cues while the non-music control was a series of play-based activities which were designed to be as structurally matched as possible to the music intervention.

The 24 children in the music intervention group showed improvements in parent-reported language, social relationships, and family quality of life compared with the 23 children in the control group.

These findings have significant implications for using music as a therapeutic tool in autism. The study demonstrates that 8–12 weeks of music intervention (relative to non-music behavioural intervention) can improve parent-reported social communication and intrinsic brain connectivity in school-age children, and  supports  the use of music as a therapeutic tool for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

SOURCES:

Translational Psychiatry: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-018-0287-3

Science Translational Medicine: https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/scitranslmed.aav6056?fbclid=IwAR30FvIbfjlXGhSr1vrCoDpQbP1RqXjnw9JSoX7k8gcEmAWv2ksjOOIYAjU

Bigger Better Brains: https://biggerbetterbrains.com/news-post/music-learning-is-a-full-brain-workout/

DETAILS:

BENEFIT:COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT
TARGET GROUP:CHILDREN
AGE:6-12 YEARS-OLD
MUSIC TYPE:GENERAL
TYPE OF STUDY:ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED:47
PERIOD OF STUDY:12 MONTHS
DATE:2016
PLACE:CANADA

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