For many parents of children with special needs, one of their biggest challenges is not being able to effectively communicate with their children. But more and more families – particularly those of children with autism and Down’s syndrome – are using music education as a tool to bridge that gap.
Like Wyrick, many parents of autistic children have noticed a marked improvement after introducing their children to music education. While it’s hard for these students to analyze and process something someone’s telling them, they are easily able to repeat it. So they are able to learn music by studying patterns and figuring out how to fill in the blanks.
Learn Piano Improve Vocabulary and Verbal Skills
Giving Children With Autism an Voice
Hayoung Lim, a music therapy researcher who focuses on children with autism, has noticed a significant link between music and speech-language acquisition. “I had a lot of students who never had a functional vocabulary who just loved to respond to the music, and then eventually they started to say words,” she said. “Once they communicate better with their parents or peers, tantrums decreased; they behave better because they understand and communicate better. You see a chain effect from the increase in language.”
Music and Down Syndrome
Autistic children aren’t the only special needs students finding great benefit from music education. Rosie Cross, who specializes in teaching piano to students with Down syndrome, explains that, “Children with Down syndrome have a well-developed aural memory and a gift of mimicry. Pieces can be taught by rote – and may take a long time to achieve.”
According to Cross, the time and effort are well worth it. After a little musical training, her students exhibit “better co-ordination, improved speech and communication, and increased self-confidence and self-esteem.”
As a mother, Wyrick agrees. She encourages other parents of special needs kids to give music a try. “They’ll really be impressed. [Music therapy] really opens them up, gives them something to look forward to.”
If you’re interested in exploring how music education can help your child, contact B&B Music Lessons today to learn more about our in-home music program.