The Benefits of Music Therapy for Autism and Special Needs

The Benefits of Music Therapy for Autism and Special Needs

The Healing Power of Music

Music has a unique ability to connect and uplift the human spirit. For children with autism or other special needs, music therapy offers a profound opportunity for growth, healing and joy.

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy uses music purposefully to improve physical, emotional, cognitive and social skills. Certified music therapists design sessions around a child’s specific needs and abilities. Activities may involve listening, singing, playing instruments, moving rhythmically and more.

Benefits for Autism

Music therapy provides children with autism many benefits, including:

  • Improved communication and social skills
  • Increased engagement and participation
  • Developed motor coordination
  • Regulated sensory issues
  • Enhanced learning and cognition
  • Improved behavior and reduced anxiety

Benefits for Other Special Needs

In addition, music therapy helps children with:

  • Down syndrome develop gross motor skills
  • Cerebral palsy improve gait and coordination
  • Intellectual disabilities strengthen memory and sequencing abilities
  • Emotional disturbances channel feelings in a healthy way

The Power of Music

While every child responds differently, most children simply enjoy making music. The non-judgmental, creative atmosphere allows them to explore sound and rhythm while learning pivotal skills.


What credentials should music therapists have?

Music therapists should have a bachelor’s degree or higher in music therapy from an accredited program. They also complete clinical training and hold the MT-BC credential.

How do sessions work?

Certified therapists assess the child, develop goals, design music activities, conduct sessions, document progress, and adjust objectives accordingly.

What happens during a session?

Common activities include singing, instrument play, movement, listening, improvisation and recreating songs. Therapists may also write songs with a child.

How can parents supplement music therapy at home?

Parents can ask the therapist for album recommendations and instruments to continue music engagement. Setting aside consistent time for music exploration is also beneficial.

How long before seeing results?

Progress emerges over time, but benefits may appear quickly as music helps regulate emotions and engages interests. Continued sessions facilitate neurological development and skill building.