"My 8-year-old son with high functioning autism loves to sing and wants to join the boys choir at his school. Would this be a good idea? From past experience, he seems to do poorly in group participation activities."
I think this will be great therapy for your son! In fact, music therapy is how I got started working with autistic children way back in the mid 1980's (before we even knew about Aspergers). Music therapy has been used in conjunction with other therapies for many disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Plus, singing in a group will help with social skills.
As it turns out, music therapy is a great fit for ASD children because it's non-verbal (and non-threatening). It improves the child’s ability to be successful at things that are more social, such as tossing a ball to music or using sticks or cymbals to help the child modulate his or her interpretation of sound. Also, therapists can use the child’s preferred music as a reward or as a way to soothe him or her.
Music therapy helps ASD children speak better as well. They tend to be able to learn words and to hold onto those words longer when music is associated with the learning of the words. Also, when taught to both ASD children and non-ASD children at the same time, music therapy is a great way to integrate ASD children into the social aspect of being around other children. Few adjustments need to be made to the music class, and the kids can mimic the behavior of non-ASD children.
Interestingly, in many situations, it’s been found that children on the spectrum can exhibit great musical ability. Some have perfect pitch while others learn to play musical instruments and can be competitive with other children in their musical abilities. This is probably one of the best reasons that parents should have their ASD child in music class. They may have abilities beyond that which a parent can know that can improve the child’s self esteem greatly.
In addition, some children with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism are fairly quiet, non-talkative individuals -- but can communicate very well through their singing voice. This can be a great help to the child who needs to communicate somehow with their parents and teachers. ASD children can learn meaningful responses when incorporated into a song.
Music therapy is one of the most advantageous types of therapy a child on the spectrum can have. From improved communication to improved socialization, many aspects of the child’s life can be maximized.
Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management
• Anonymous said... Doesnt hurt to try. Go For It
• Anonymous said... Encourage anything he's interested in! Music was my lifeline when I was diagnosed. Because I loved it, it didn't matter if it was a group thing or if it was one on one. It was my coping strategy. If it helps with group settings with your son, even better!
• Anonymous said... Go for it, he can always stop if he does not enjoy it. I think it's great he is showing an interest and as he is the one suggesting it there is more chance of it being a success! I tend to follow my son's lead in choosing after school activities and so far it's worked well. Granted some of his choices would not be my first option lol I hope he has an awesome time : )
• Anonymous said... i have a family member with a/s who sings in a choir,they have even traveled abroud ,she adores it,
• Anonymous said... Let him, my youngest can't handle group activities and he joined the Kupa Huka group at school as loves performing and he loved it, and did well at it must admit also improved his co-ordination and confidence.
• Anonymous said... let them try new experiences don't hold them back just in case give them tools and permission to go to a neutral zone if anxious and make sure all adults are aware jp has been doing the science fair where it is quite loud and busy and he has really surprised me. I am so proud of him.
• Anonymous said... My Aspie son LOVES music and singing and really enjoys the choir. Although it's a group thing, he doesn't have to interact with them as such, just sing along with them
• Anonymous said... My Aspie son loves music... has played violin for years, didn't do so well Suzuki style but did fine with group Orchestra. Did choir last year, the only boy in a dozen... did great! Granted, part of this was because he didn't have to deal with the other boys in his class, who can be a bit pushy!
• Anonymous said... My son started choir around that age and flourished. Made friends in the choir room at school. When he gets stressed he goes there to destress. At 15 he still loves choir and wants to continue with music. I highly encourage it.
• Anonymous said... Yes! Its an excellent idea, especially if he has a good voice and loves music! My son loves music and he plays the cello. He likes most string instruments and loves to sing! Music has made a huge difference in his mood and life! I recommend highly!!
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