Music. A timeless art employed for its ability to mend and soothe. Recent research conducted by the University of Southern California, Brain, and Creativity Institute, illuminated that it can also be an effective catalyst in developing the minds of youngsters. It was demonstrated that those exposed to instruments of music exhibited an augmented degree of cognitive abilities in comparison to individuals who had no musical expertise. Beatriz Ilari, an associate professor of music pedagogy at the University of Southern California, spearheaded the investigation.

She researched children aged six to seven who had just embarked on their musical journey. The objective was to explore whether exposure to music would influence their learning capacity.

Music Therapy Research

After employing MRI and EEG scans and administering behavioral and musical examinations, their progress in terms of musicality, socialization, cognitive abilities, and brain development was monitored. Furthermore, the acquired data from these tests gave valuable insights into the overall evolution of their mental agility. As time progressed, the young individuals partaking in music were able to fare exceedingly better on tests assessing executive function.

Executive functions refers to processes that allow for the capacity to plan, concentrate, retain information, and juggle various tasks. Children in this research exhibited these functions in a more developed manner and also demonstrated lesser levels of hyperactivity and hostility.

Music Therapy Benefits

Hong Kong’s Do Re Mi Music Therapy Centre founder Yau Wang was not startled by the Research results. She says that listening to or performing music has always been exceedingly salient for those coping with intense distress; it can mitigate and support the management of anger, according to Wang. Following the disastrous SARS outbreak in 2003, when children were Traumatized by family tensions due to the fear and dismay it caused, Wang initiated Do Re Mi as a response.

During the SARS crisis, just like currently with Covid-19, there was trepidation regarding what could come in the future – leaving everybody in an extended interval of doubtfulness and apprehension.

“It was an immensely tense situation for everyone; both parents and their children were heavily impacted by this state of constant unease,” Wang remarks.

This ultimately pushed her to launch Do Re Mi as a platform for people to seek solace through music regardless of their situation, allowing them to express themselves and work through difficult circumstances.

Music Therapy on Autism

Wang also recounts the story of Yeung Hong Yue, a  six-year-old at the time of entering the therapy center, who was diagnosed with Autism; his communication abilities were limited to simply repeating words, and phrases said to him. Such a condition has caused a lot of distress in mainstream education. Yet, following only several sessions at Do Re Mi, it became apparent that he had an extraordinary capacity for recall, and music seemed to have a soothing effect on him.

It is not his communication abilities alone that were refined, but also his fine motor skills, an area of difficulty for many children with Autism. Learning a musical instrument, and in Yeung’s case, the piano, allowed him to focus on a calming and stimulating activity while helping him develop these skills. Despite initial difficulties understanding music notation, he contrived a unique method of deciphering notes and playing pieces with his “miraculous memory,” making immense progress.

After 15 years of study, he went on to triumph at the 5th Hong Kong Pacific Piano Open Competition, organized by the East-West Arts Association – an event which, for the first time, featured a section dedicated to children with special needs – claiming first prize in his category. Young had won success, and his mother was grateful to Wang for helping her son achieve this.

ABA therapy

Yoeung’s story serves as a reminder that Autism does not have to be a life-long sentence. Various forms of therapy, such as music therapies, are proving successful in treating individuals with this condition. However, there is also ABA, which has been received positively by educators and parents. It is an intensive behavior therapy used to reduce autism symptoms and increase learning, communication, and appropriate social behavior. ABA practice involves breaking up complex behaviors into smaller steps, teaching each step using positive reinforcement.

Nevada Autism works with autistic children and Adults to strengthen their competencies in aspects such as communication, recollection, arrangement of duties, socializing and self-care.

Learn more about our Applied Behavioral Analysis program and how it can be beneficial for you or your kid. With proper assistance, people living with autism can live a happy life.

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