Music Therapy: Key to Improving the Lives of Special Needs Children

Child Doing Music Therapy in MadisonExperts have found that exposure to music right from birth can encourage brain development in infants. Some pregnant women even listen to classical tunes in the belief that it will make their babies be born smarter. In fact, babies respond to music through simple movements in the womb, and can remember the music played to them up until four months from when they’ve been born.

It is no surprise then, that music plays an integral part in developing a child’s cognitive functions. Taking this observation further, says that music also has a range of benefits for special needs children, such as strengthening areas of their brain and generally enriching their lives.

A Non-Verbal Form of Communication

Children with special needs often have limited speech skills and they may experience difficulty spending time in school, reaching out to their peers who can talk all day long. Music, on the other hand, is a non-verbal outlet that they can resort to whenever they feel their words failing them. Playing music can be a lot more powerful than a spoken language because it could evoke intangible concepts such as joy or sadness.

An Effective Brain Stimulant

Research shows that playing music gets the entire brain to work; the sensory cortex, auditory cortex, hippocampus, visual cortex, cerebellum, amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and motor cortex all work hand in hand to fully engage an individual in the music or music-making process. For learning-disabled children, learning how to play music can help them build on their concentration and improve memory. As learning music is a creative process, children are encouraged to memorize songs and are in a better mood for learning.  

A Positive and Relaxing Experience

It is natural for special needs children to show signs of bad behavior or to feel isolated from their peers. Music is a great way to enhance a person’s mood, however. By listening to upbeat, rhythmic music, children with learning disabilities can reduce negative feelings they may have and be more at ease. In fact, one study shows that playing or listening to music releases oxytocin, the body’s cuddle hormone. Music therapy, therefore, is a great mood booster.

Every special needs child deserves the opportunity to enjoy life without being hindered by their disabilities. Music therapy is a great way to make their lives a fulfilling and enjoyable learning experience.