Can we use Music Therapy to cure autism, language skills problems, and cancer in children?
In the early eighteenth century, the phonograph has been used to reinforce patients in hospitals to sleep and during surgery and anaesthesia process (Barrera et al., 2002, p. 379). In the nineteenth century, there was a desire to use the sounds of music to minimize pain. In the 1980s, the use of music therapy was documented, but it had not proved any effectiveness (Barrera et al., 2002, p.379). Also, Munro et al. (1987) reported that the Greeks used music in psychology treatment (p. 1029). Music therapy was defended by Munro et al. (1987) as “the controlled use of music, its elements and their influences on the human being to aid in the physiologic, psychological and emotional integration of the individual during the treatment of anilines or disability (p. 1030). Recently, many studies have shown an improvement of that interest of using music therapy, and that significantly proved its useful effects on children with varies medical issues. Nowadays there are other therapies besides medical treatment for children with autism, language skills problems, and dealing with hospitalization due to cancer. One of the illnesses that music therapy helped to recover is autism. Yates and Professor Couteur (2009) defined autism as “a neurodevelopmental disorder, classified under the umbrella of conditions known as pervasive developmental disorders [...] It is characterized by qualitative behavioural abnormalities in the domains of communication, reciprocal social interaction and interests, and activities that are repetitive, restricted and stereotyped” (p. 55). Autistic children suffer from many symptoms: limitation in social relationships, poor communication skills, or unusual interests; for example, some children stick to one doll or to a specific place, or repetitious behaviors such as sitting while going back and forth, also feeling tension and fear. Moreover, there may be other symptoms, such as preferring to be alone by averting eye and social contact, or showing aggressive behaviours when someone tries to communicate with them. Also, half of autistic children never speak. (Polsdorfer, 2005, p. 1) There are several studies that have shown the effectiveness of music therapy on the symptoms of autism. A study had been proven on children who are diagnosed with autism between the age of 4-11 years old who were treated by music (Getetsegger et al., 2012, p. 2). In this study, a therapist played music or sang, and understood the child’s actions and reactions by creating an intensive relationship. To achieve this synchronisation between the child and the therapist, the therapist used special techniques to attract the child’s attention, then got through to the child. The child was allowed the chance to be involved in many ways, such as “affect sharing, joint attention, imitation, reciprocity, and turn-taking” (Getetsegger et al., 2012, p. 4). That means that those ways gave the child the motivation to join the therapist and communicate with him/her. Depending on the child’s situation, there are three different conditions for the treatment: high-intensity music therapy, low-intensity music therapy, and stander care. The high-intensity music therapy lasts for five months long, three times a week. On the other hand, the low-intensity music therapy duration is once a week for five months long, also. Finally, the stander care treatment involves only three sessions after two months and after five months. According to Barrow-Moore (2007), these activities can help the child to develop their communication skills and develop their ability to speak. Therefore, they will be more open to communicating in society (p. 4). So, it is significant for children who have had limitations in communication in the past. The other illness that music therapy has beneficial effects on is language skills problems (speech disorder). Speech disorder as MedicineNet.com...
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