Music Therapy For Autism

Because the brain of an autistic child is very good with math, reading, languages and anything that has an obvious pattern, music therapy is now an option for parents in some parts of the country. Children who are verbal excel at it only slightly more than nonverbal children, suggest the findings of several studies and music on the autistic brain. Children with autism who play a musical instrument also seem to have the focus needed to attend to a piece of music much longer than the average child.

Instruments that busy the fingers and allow for finger changes have the most impact. Strings, winds and piano are preferred by most children who can vocalize what instrument they would like to try. It gets them to come out of their shells if they are shy children, and encourages them to talk about something that really holds their interest.

Rhythms, from the simple to the complicated, are quickly understood and picked up by children with autism, making music therapy the perfect means to draw them out of their autistic world and into the world with the rest of us. Strings and keys on the instruments are perfect for their fidgeting and repetitive movements. Their seemingly obstinate approach to perfectionism means they are willing to learn and practice music until the instrument is removed from their presence.

The only blockade that exists for this type of therapy is finding a music therapist who is willing to help a child with autism. Music therapists have almost been completely dismissed from use in many hospitals and county facilities, and usually can only be found in particularly large cities or the state capitols. Parents can use an online referral service to locate a music therapist who works with children and adults with autism. Music therapy is rarely covered by health insurance programs, but if the child receives social security and Medicare, Medicare might cover it. If Medicare doesn’t, at least the social security disability money every month can.

If a child with autism is high functioning enough, music lessons offered by the local school district are most effective, and free. Generally the cost of the rented instrument that the child chooses is the only expense the parents have to worry about, unless they can buy a used instrument from another student. The music lessons help these children train and focus on something constructive, rather than obsessing on something that may not seem important to anyone else.

Local chapters of autism support groups may be another source to locate music therapy groups or music therapists. Some music therapy camps for children with autism do exist, but they are too few and far between across the country. A handful of music teachers who have experience working with kids with autism might be a valuable substitute if a music therapist isn’t close enough to come to the home or drive the child to meetings. Unfortunately that might mean paying for private lessons, but it’s no more expensive than a music therapist.

Music therapy is an invaluable means to help a child with autism. It is slowly being recognized as a tool to help, and hopefully, will be widespread in the next twenty years. Maybe by then we will know exactly what causes autism, and how we can prevent it or possibly cure it for parents that would want a cure for their child. In that case, music therapy wouldn’t be necessary anymore, but it probably wouldn’t stop a child who loves music from playing.

Most Related Articles:
1). Chelation therapy and autism

Chelation Therapy And Autism

Chelation is the process whereby chelating agents, chemical powders ingested into the body, remove high levels of toxic metals such as lead and mercury. While the chelation therapy works for these specific ailments, the FDA has not approved the therapy for any other use than what it is recommended for. Extreme cases of chelation overdose have caused severe adverse affects, especially in children.

Still there is a sub cultural movement prevailing that insists on believing that children with autism are the way they are because they were exposed to high amounts of toxic metals, either while in utero or after birth when they were able to crawl around and explore. While it’s certainly true that babies can be exposed to lead, mercury and arsenic in much older homes and apartments that predate the 1980’s cleanup of of these metals in paint and construction materials, there’s no evidence to suggest that autism affects all babies by this route. Certainly, medical ethics prevents us from exposing infants to such harmful toxins to prove it, but not all children with autism have this problem, which clearly points to high blood metal toxicity levels not being the cause of the disorder.

And yet, chelation therapy for these children is touted by this subcultural movement as the autism cure all. It’s an ongoing battle with pediatricians everywhere to try and inform parents that chelation therapy is ONLY for the removal of deadly metals from the blood, not a treatment or cure for their autistic child. Stubbornly refusing to listen parents charge head on into a situation that could prove to be fatal for their children with autism.

“Why,” do you ask, “would anyone take the risk of fatality and do it anyway?” Indeed, it’s preposterous to watch in action. If there aren’t medium to high levels or there aren’t any levels of these toxic metals in the autistic child’s system, chelation therapy will attack the next best thing. That’s the healthy minerals any child needs to function, or any adult for that matter. Urinating or vomiting up or even defecating to the point they have to be hospitalized because their magnesium or potassium levels are dangerously low is just idiocy.

If the child does have medium to extremely high levels of these toxins in his or her blood, a doctor will naturally prescribe the chelation therapy, but only for the length of time needed until the blood work comes back with a more positive outlook. Does it change the child with autism at all to have their blood levels of these toxins reduced? No, not really. An average child suffers the same symptomology as a child with autism does; poor apetite, low weight, slow growth, and a few physical deformities that, over time, correct themselves with therapy. The end result of the chelation therapy in both cases is the same. The child is healthier, eats more, grows better, etc.

Then the question still stands; why would anyone still attempt to do chelation therapy long or short term in the attempt to cure or treat autism? It’s quack medicine when used incorrectly, and the equivalent to snake oil for a broken leg. If a parent is so sure it will help, they need to be certain first that these toxins are even in their child’s blood to begin with. If they’re not, or they’re really low, they run the risk of killing their child by forcing the matter and getting a chelation prescription from the doctor. By the way, parents, even through their own stupidity, can still sue a doctor for writing a prescription they insisted on having when it has negative or fatal side effects. How insane is that?

The FDA has now made it illegal to use chelation outside the recommended parameters inside the U.S., but desperate parents who won’t drop the issue will take their child to another country to attempt this homicidal treatment. These parents really need to take a closer look at their actions and look deep within to see why they can’t accept their children as they are and love them unconditionally as they should.

Abroad, chelation therapy is still in use to treat autistic children. In underdeveloped countries, that’s all fine and good because the women and children are exposed to these toxins all the time. Chelation therapy in some parts of Europe, Russia and the Far East won’t do as much harm or be as fatal there because the blood levels of the toxic metals get flushed out and the child benefits from this anyway. In developed countries, like the U.S.A., it’s just a bad idea all around unless a doctor says it’s really necessary.

This ongoing battle for the rights of the autistic children and freedom from unnecessary medication is the whole focus of the group, “Aspies For Freedom”. Their website has several links to the do’s and don’ts of medicating a child with autism and when it’s appropriate and when it isn’t. It’s a very good eye opening site for parents who may be considering chelation therapy because it might just change their minds and save their children’s lives. Parents of autistic children can advocate for their children but should do it in ways that support their child’s uniqueness, not in ways that are trying to “cure” or “fix” them.

As for any pediatrician that is all for chelation therapy, or any other drug for off label use with a child with autism, you might want to have them checked out. Some doctors have been known to receive kickbacks just for prescribing treatments and medications for off label use, making their patients guinea pigs for the pharmaceutical companies. Love your autistic children more than these doctors love perks, and just run the other direction for their own protection.

What about oral chelation therapy or Music therapy for autism?
Do Children With Autism Spectrum Get Better?