Music Therapy in Autism for Families and Professionals

Liz Burg
September 19, 2011
Suzanne Hanser, Ed.D., chairs Berklee's Music Therapy Department.

Berklee College of Music's Music Therapy Department has teamed up with Autism Speaks to present two events that introduce music therapy applications for children on the autism spectrum.  Berklee faculty and students will join national experts at these events targeted for families and professionals.

On October 5, families with children on the autism spectrum will participate in Autism Speaks and Sings!, a musical event narrated by the coleaders of the American Music Therapy Association Task Force on Autism. Berklee students will lead the audience in a variety of musical activities, such as children's songs with a contemporary twist, that reinforce learning basic concepts. Along with sampling fun musical exercises, the audience will learn about the purpose, research, and objectives of music therapy for children on the autism spectrum. This event runs from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street, Boston.

On October 6, professionals working with children on the autism spectrum are invited to explore music therapy at Autism Speaks And Sings! Part 2. A panel of music therapists, facilitated by Berklee faculty member Peggy Codding, Ph.D., will respond to a variety of clinical scenarios presented by music therapy clinicians. Panelists will address current research, the neurophysiology behind musical responsiveness, and specific clinical music therapy techniques. This event runs from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street, Boston.

"There is scientific evidence that music therapy influences children on the autism spectrum in several ways, like enhancing skills in communication, interpersonal relationships, self-regulation, coping strategies, stress management, and focusing attention," says Berklee's Music Therapy Department chair Suzanne Hanser, Ed.D.  "Autism Speaks and Sings! is designed to offer families and professionals a glimpse of some creative techniques and expected outcomes of music therapy interventions."