Early childhood is a time when children may begin to exhibit signs of issues such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Cerebral Palsy, Speech Disorders/ Delays, and Developmental Delays.
Taking advantage of the developing brain
Children are growing rapidly during this stage, and their brains are no exception. We know now that brains have plasticity, or the ability to change and rewire themselves. This is especially true in babies and young children, who have brains that are still developing.
The brain develops connections, especially in early childhood, by utilizing (activating) parts of the brain. Here is a very brief video that explains how this works:
We also know that a brain which is exposed to music, activates in many areas at once.
For children who are dealing with issues that are partially or fully neurologic in nature, music therapists can take advantage of the ability of music to activate the brain and encourage synaptic connections. As well, music therapists are lucky in that their tool, music, is often very motivating to children in particular.
A music therapist on your child’s team
Music therapists can work with other professionals, either at the same time or in consultation, to support a client’s goals. For instance, a child may resist the exercises prescribed by their physiotherapist: in that case, a music therapist might be asked to come to the physiotherapy session, where they can provide music and musical activities to encourage the child. A music therapist and speech language pathologist (SLP) working together might create a program of speech exercises set to music to encourage practicing of a particular speech sound.
Here is an example of music therapy from a CNN story.
Other posts in this series
- Music Therapy Through Life: Palliative Care and End of Life
- Music Therapy Through Life: Oncology
- Music Therapy Through Life: Older Adults and Dementia
- Music Therapy Through Life: Mental Health
- Music Therapy Through Life: Rehabilitation
- Music Therapy Through Life: Mid to Late Childhood and Adolescence