with Mechanics of Music
By Kaitlin Deavy
We’ve always been a school of inclusion - our students are of all ages (4-84), all genders, ethnicities, and beyond! This also includes inclusion of learning styles, such as those of our students on the spectrum. Not every student learns music the same way, and we understand the importance of our teachers adapting to the needs of our students. Not only to improve their immediate musical development, but to improve various facets of their lives. With the amount of research coming to light, it’s no secret that music has positive effects on those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). So in honour of Autism Awareness day on April 2nd, we wanted to share a few of the benefits that these studies have found in helping children with ASD.
Researchers at McGill University conducted their study with autistic children taking part in interventions with and without music over a span of 8 to 12 weeks. They monitored communication, social skills, emotional regulation skills, and a few other factors that typically affect learning behaviours among those with ASD.
The results? “The children in the music group initiated more spontaneous engagement with their therapist than those in the non-music group, and that they spent less time exclusively engaged with objects (versus the shared activity and the therapist).” says McGill University. This positive outcome of joint engagement (where children learn with their parent, therapist, or teacher), has helped further the interest and development of more studies to better analyze these benefits. Perhaps we’ll see more musical intervention programs in the future being incorporated into education and healthcare.
As a music school, this is no surprise for us to hear as we’ve had the privilege of seeing it first hand. Seeing the research coming to light to share this information is something that delights and excites us. Music is seen to many as a fluid language, connecting all people regardless of language barriers, age, gender, or learning processes. We’ve seen ourselves how music has connected our students with ASD more with others, whether that be with their teachers, classmates, or their family. It makes us proud of what we do and excited to watch and follow as more information comes to light on the benefits of music for everyone.
References: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/scitranslmed.aav6056 https://www.mcgill.ca/neuro/article/research/advances-music-based-interventions-autistic-chi ldren