Peter H Brown Clinical Psychologist

Psychology News & Resources

Using Music to Help Children with Autism Understand Emotions (Plus Some Favorite ASD Resources)

This post got so many Retweets on my Twitter Timeline that I decided to repost it here. The original source is examiner.com, and the author is Sharon Gillson

Music affects all of us, and we can attest to it’s appeal to our emotions. Now researchers have developed a program designed to help children with ASD better understand emotions, and learn to recognize emotions in other people.

solitudeThe children use a method of music education known as the Orff-Schulwerk (schulwerk is German for schooling) approach, which was developed by 20th-century German composer Carl Orff. This approach to music learning uses movement and is based on things that kids intuitively like to do, such as sing, chant rhymes, clap, dance and keep a beat or play a rhythm on anything near at hand.

The 12-week program uses elements from the Orff method — including games, instruments and teamwork — and combines them with musical games. The idea is to pair emotional musical excerpts with matching displays of social emotion (happy with happy, sad with sad, etc.) in a social, interactive setting.

Istvan Molnar-Szakacs, a researcher at the UCLA Tennenbaum Center for the Biology of Creativity and member of the of the Help Group–UCLA Autism Research Alliance, stated, “The purpose of this work is to provide a means for awakening the potential in every child for being ‘musical’ — that is, to be able to understand and use music and movement as forms of expression and, through that, to develop a recognition and understanding of emotions.”

Molnar-Szakacs also said that participating in musical activities has the potential to scaffold and enhance all other learning and development, from timing and language to social skills. “Beyond these more concrete intellectual benefits, the extraordinary power of music to trigger memories and emotions and join us together as an emotional, empathic and compassionate humanity are invaluable”

The goal of the research is to evaluate the effect of the music education program on outcomes in social communication and emotional functioning, as well as the children’s musical development.

————————————————————

I am constantly delighted and enthralled by the children, young people and adults with ASD with whom I have the opportunity to work. There is a frankness and depth in these conversations that blows my socks off just about every time we get together.

Here are some of the ASD resources that I use and recommend to my clients and patients as well as my colleagues.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but rather some of those I have found most useful or been described as most helpful. Please have a look and see if you think they may be of use to you or someone you know. There are others listed in my “Highly Recommended  Books and Resources” Link to the right of this page.

Tony Atwood‘s Brilliant  The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome

The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism

Freaks, Geeks & Asperger Syndrome: A User Guide to Adolescence

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

and there are so many others! I’m just realising that this is an entire post topic in itself. Stay tuned. Any others you like” Any questions? Leave a comment!

Share/Save/Bookmark

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

July 25, 2009 - Posted by | Aspergers, Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, therapy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: