Photo by John Barkiple on Unsplash
Engaging in musical activities such as singing and playing instruments in one-on-one therapy can improve autistic children’s social communication skills and increase brain connectivity in key networks, according to researchers at Université de Montréal and McGill University.
Fifty-one children aged 6–12 years with autism received 8–12 weeks of either music (26 children) or non-music intervention (25 children). In the music group, the kids sang and played different musical instruments, working with a therapist to engage in a reciprocal interaction. The control group worked with the same therapist and also engaged in reciprocal play, without any musical activities.
The groups were assessed before and after each intervention on their social communication and the resting-state functional connectivity of their brain networks.
Communication scores were higher in the music group post-intervention, and the associated post-intervention resting-state brain functional connectivity was also greater in the music group.
“These findings are exciting and hold much promise for autism intervention,” said Megha Sharda, a postdoctoral fellow at Université de Montréal and lead author of the new research. It provides the first evidence that 8–12 weeks of individual music intervention can indeed improve social communication and functional brain connectivity, thus supporting the use of music as a therapeutic tool for individuals with ASD.
Translational Psychiatry: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-018-0287-3
McGill University: https://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/channels/news/music-improves-social-communication-autistic-children-291353
National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6199253/
|BENEFIT:||BRAIN CONNECTIVITY & SOCIAL COMMUNICATION|
|TARGET GROUP:||YOUNG PEOPLE|
|TYPE OF STUDY:||ACADEMIC RESEARCH|
|PERIOD OF STUDY:||3 MONTHS|