Art & Music Therapy

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Based at Concordia University in Montreal. The Centre utilizes the creative arts therapies and applies them to promote growth and development, at this time in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Blackstock knows the world differently from most of us; if you are too correct to admit this, you miss the way his work compels, presses, argues, soars.
Emily Hall
Musicians working with persons with autism have noted that many show unusual sensitivities to music. Some have perfect pitch, while many have been noted to play instruments with exceptional musicality.
John Clifton
Improvisation music therapy is gaining acceptance as an effective way of gaining and regulating communication with even the most recalcitrant autistic youngsters. It employs techniques of mirroring and enhancement or modulation of expression with the benefit of a trained musician's sensitivity for pulse and expression in gestures made by the patient. Imitative responses are found to be attractive to autistic children and can act as a bridge to collaborative play or communication, and improving the child's access to language
Colwyn Trevarthen
We can't play with these elements present. it's not fun. it's downright maddening: Noticeable ambient noise; artificial chemical scents and smokes; fluorescent lighting..
tr kelley
Whilst findings from experimental studies suggest that perceptual mechanisms underpinning musical cognition are preserved or enhanced in autism, little is known about how higher-level, structural aspects of music are processed. Twenty participants with autism, together with age and intelligence matched controls, completed a musical priming task in which global and local musical contexts were manipulated. The results from the study revealed no between-group differences and showed that both global and local musical contexts influenced participants' congruity judgements. The findings were interpreted within the context of studies showing weakened sensitivity to verbal/semantic information in autism.
P. Heaton et al
L. Stewart et al
Although there's been a lot of speculation about why students like Anthony are so responsive to music, only recently have scientists had the technology to study how music impacts the brain.
Tom Bearden
There is evidence that the cerebellum is involved in motor learning and cognitive function in humans. Animal experiments have found structural changes in the cerebellum in response to long-term motor skill activity. We investigated whether professional keyboard players, who learn specialized motor skills early in life and practice them intensely throughout life, have larger cerebellar volumes than matched non-musicians by analyzing high-resolution T1-weighted MR images from a large prospectively acquired database (n = 120). Significantly greater absolute (P = 0.018) and relative (P = 0.006) cerebellar volume but not total brain volume was found in male musicians compared to male non-musicians. Lifelong intensity of practice correlated with relative cerebellar volume in the male musician group (r = 0.595, P = 0.001). In the female group, there was no significant difference noted in volume measurements between musicians and non-musicians. The significant main effect for gender on relative cerebellar volume (F = 10.41, P < 0.01), with females having a larger relative cerebellar volume, may mask the effect of musicianship in the female group. We propose that the significantly greater cerebellar volume in male musicians and the positive correlation between relative cerebellar volume and lifelong intensity of practice represents structural adaptation to long-term motor and cognitive functional demands in the human cerebellum.
Siobhan Hutchinson, Leslie Hui-Lin Lee, Nadine Gaab and Gottfried Schlaug
Complementary therapies may include music, art or animal therapy and may be done on an individual basis or integrated into an educational program.
The drawings of two artistically gifted young people with autism (BX and CZ) were compared and related to their cognitive profiles. BX is more typical of other cases of autistic savants in his choice of non-human subject matter and linear style of drawing and also in his cognitive profile. CZ is unusual in drawing the human face and in concentrating on the drawing technique of tonal contrasts; her cognitive profile is also atypical. The article highlights individual differences within the autistic savant population.
Maureen Cox, Kate Eames
Through repeated exercises, Davies said it's entirely possible for Asperger's children to learn how to "act" in social situations. They can memorize the myriad of facial expressions, the emotion they convey and how to react to them. During a workshop in Auburn this week, autistic children were treated to exercises that had them ducking samarai swords and wading through Jell-O. The exercises help with focus, understanding non-verbal communication and social interaction - all while embracing the silly, which Davies said Asperger's children relish.
Michelle Miller, Auburn Journal
Drama: A Powerful Tool For Social Skill Development; Learning and Fun: Are they Compatible? A Recipe for Success: An Interactive Disability Awareness Activity; All Aboard: A Look At Dramatic Play; Picky Eater? Don't Give Up...Yet
This study investigated imagination via drawing tasks, in 15 children with autism and 15 children with Asperger Syndrome, compared to verbal mental age matched normal children and children with moderate learning difficulty (MLD).
J. Craig, Simon Baron-Cohen, Fiona Scott
Music-based therapies are becoming a popular treatment modality for various psychiatric disorders, including autism. It seems very likely that music-based experiences have real benefits for the growth and development of various special children.
Jaak Panksepp
The Emerging Interactive paradigm is concerned with more than expression and emotional release. It is about developing procedural structures that enable forms of human engagement, self-awareness and cognition to evolve.
Marijke Rutten-Saris, Kathy Evans
Drawing realistically requires suspension of semantic knowledge (not a new claim); and drawing from structural description is only possible in direct observation and impossible from memory (new claim) unless the drawer draws without looking at the page.
Jennifer A. McMahon
Down a gravel road lined with blackberry bushes that devour discarded soda cans, no trespassing signs and the occasional old car, lives a woman who thinks in pictures and sound and would prefer not to meet you. Musician TR Kelley might like to know you, but the initial meeting might cause her to convulse, rock and crane her neck to avoid eye contact. She doesn't know how to take a phone message, but she can play along with a Thelonious Monk record. "I mainly stay away from society," she says. "I always have a pen and paper in case I get flustered."
Art is primarily about self expression and the pleasure that comes from creating. It is pleasing to others but it is primarily about creating something that is pleasing to the self.
Colin Smith
There must be a language mind behind the ear that is different from the music mind. It's very important to differentiate these and not talk about them as a lump.
Richard Knox
Inside a dimly lit restaurant, a woman swirls a glass of red wine. A couple gaze into each other's eyes as if no one and nothing else matters. A young man - only 17, but with a patch of gray already spreading through his black hair - walks past the tables and takes a seat at a piano in the corner. He says nothing. As usual, he makes no eye contact. Instead, Michael Miller concentrates solely on the row of keys under his hands. The look in his eyes intensifies. His lips purse with concentration. He curls his fingers and begins to play something that sounds vaguely classical.
A blind autistic musical prodigious savant.
Listening to music is non-invasive, is usually a pleasant experience, and may have the potential to affect cognition positively.
Society for Auditory Intervention Techniques
One of these benefits is that Music provides the structural regularity that children with autism need. Within that structure it is possible to expand that child's repertoire of functioning.
Steven Shore
Music provides the structural regularity that children with autism need. Within that structure it is possible to expand that child's repertoire of functioning.
Martha Kate Downey
According to a new study, children with music training had significantly better verbal memory than those without such training, and the longer the training, the better the verbal memory.
The study offers encouraging findings to help children with autism through a difficult part of their day. Given the extremely small sample size, the authors recommend it be replicated with additional participants.The study suggests future research on the effects of songs in other challenging routines for young children in inclusive classrooms. Furthermore,the potential affect on peer relationships calls for more research on how songs designed for children with autism affect their peers.
P. Kern
Although far more restricted than in musical communication with a normally developing child, music can stimulate and develop more meaningful and playful communication in people with autism.
National Autistic Society
Music therapy can be effective in working to improve motor coordination, communication skills, social and behavioral skills, attention span and sensory issues.
Leslie Crockett
Music therapy cannot cure children with autism, but it can play an important role in their successful integration into society by giving them a basis for further therapy and teaching them basic human interaction skills.
Michele Muggli
Music is effective because it is a nonverbal form of communication, it is a natural reinforcer, it is immediate in time and provides motivation for practicing nonmusical skills.
Myra Staum
Technology and research have identified the physiological benefits of music on the immune system, its benefits for relaxation and stress management, its application to memory and attention, and long-term changes in behaviors in depressed elderly patients.
Carol Shultis
Hilary Bracefield, Michael Kirk-Smith, Eamonn Slevin, Julie Sutton, Kate Thompson
General information site.
Singer-songwriter, Cathy Bollinger, a Charlottesville resident, has put that reinforcement to music in her new CD, "My Turn Your Turn." The CD is focused on building social skills in children with autism. "There's really nothing like it out there," said Bollinger, "which is amazing in the children's music industry."
Sarah Barry, Daily Progress
Autistic musical savants show levels of skill that stand in marked contrast to their intellectual and social impairments and it thus appears that important aspects of musical perception and cognition can be spared in autism. Working within the theoretical framework provided by Weak Central Coherence Theory, the first group of studies included in the proposal seek to further investigate pitch processing in music. Previously published findings and control data provide some evidence for enhanced pitch processing in autism and these studies will extent these findings by testing pitch memory, the extrapolation of pitches across octaves and the ability to make precise relational judgements about pairs of pitches. In another study children will be presented with sequences of chords which will be followed by a target chord that is/isnt related to the previous context at local and/or global levels. Intellectually able children with autism, as well as those with cognitive impairment will participate in the studies. In addition controls matched for age and intelligence will be included.
P.F. Heaton
For centuries, musicians have used a metronome to help them keep time. But now, the same concept is being used to help those suffering from certain neurological diseases learn better.
The work demonstrates that contrasting presenting symptoms and consequent modifications in music therapy techniques needed to be considered in the therapy process. However, the process for both clients is, in essence, and in terms of ultimate goals, the same: Facilitating the development of a sense of self.
Susannah Bailey
The emerging interdisciplinary field of Disability Studies takes as its subject matter the social and cultural construction of disability. This paper suggests some ways of applying the insights of Disability Studies to the Western classical tradition of instrumental music. After a brief introduction to Disability Studies and an overview of some possible applications to music (composers with disabilities, performers with disabilities, and listeners with disabilities), this paper focuses on four music theories (those of Hepokoski/Darcy, Schoenberg, Schenker, and Lewin) and two musical repertoires (major-key sonata-form movements by Beethoven and Schubert and short (mostly) instrumental works by Schoenberg and Webern) to show ways in which language about music and music itself both represent and construct disability.
Joseph Straus
The emotional part of our neurology is embedded in the limbic system, as is our balance and sensory reactions. Isn't it amazing that spinning, cross body arm movements, touch, can effect emotion, speech, perception?
Jesse Flaws
8-step program: Preparing; Assessing: Responding: Timing: New Directions: Empathy Equal Exchange: Releasing: Settling Back.
Isabel Jones, Nick Hodge
Comprehensive site explaining music therapy and providing resources.
A Music Medicine research organization and therapy provider focusing on the effects of musical rhythm on the central nervous system
REI consists of a 40 minute recording played as background music which contains complex, unusual drumming rhythms chosen to address specific behavioral and cognitive areas.
Jeff Strong
The difference between a music teacher and a music therapist is, when working with a music teacher, the student works at the teacher's level. When working with a music therapist, the therapist works at the student's level.
Music will often reach a child with an ASD when nothing else will. Making a toy into a sensory integration tool will help with early intervention and expand your child's abilities.
Adelle Jameson Tilton
His disability is the driving force behind his creative urge. Although his work isn't really about being disabled, it springs from his long experience as a disabled man -- ignored, stared at, isolated, dismissed as a freak, and told what he couldn't do. Ever since Moore has transcended that isolation, he's made it his mission to inspire, cajole, heal, arouse, stimulate and, quite possibly, piss you off.
Will Harper
Asked how he got into jazz, Matt says, "When I was younger I used to like numbers and stuff. I liked songs based on how long they were and liked the longer ones best. The first jazz album we got was Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue,' and the average song length was nine minutes. That's how I started in jazz." Giggly and well spoken, Matt says he likes a lot of music -- classical and rock 'n' roll included -- but his heart is in jazz. "It's the coolest music," he says.
Chad Jones, Inside Bay Area
This study evaluated the effects of individually composed songs on the independent behaviors of two young children with autism during the morning greeting/entry routine into their inclusive classrooms. A music therapist composed a song for each child related to the steps of the morning greeting routine and taught the children's teachers to sing the songs during the routine. The effects were evaluated using a single subject withdrawal design. The results indicate that the songs, with modifications for one child, assisted the children in entering the classroom, greeting the teacher and/or peers and engaging in play. For one child, the number of peers who greeted him was also measured, and increased when the song was used.
P. Kern et al
Music has a unique ability to provide diversion, stimulation and entertainment. It also has the capability to make deep connections when used creatively.
Carolanne Mainland
As research continues, it is becoming clearer that music can be used with the autistic person as something that is therapeutic, like a good swim or deep pressure massage, rather than as therapy designed for psychological and psychiatric disorders.
Sandra Dawson
From a contemporary perspective, art therapy may be defined as a form of therapy in which creating images and objects plays a central role in the psychotherapeutic relationship established between the art therapist and client.

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