Can Music Therapy Help Children With Autism?

music, autism

It’s been thought by many that music therapy will help children with autism to feel more creative and motivated, while also being better equipped to communicate.

A new study, though, is throwing cold water on that belief.

In this issue, we’ll talk about the study and its findings.

The Study at a Glance

With results published in the Journal of the American Medial Association, researchers studied 364 children between the ages of 4 – 7-years-old who had been diagnosed with autism. Half were selected randomly to receive standard care while the other half received a combination of standard care and improvisational music therapy for 5 months.

During the music therapy sessions, the music therapist sang to and played music for the children, and focused on the child’s attention span, behaviors and desire to improve social communication skills.

In the standard care portion of the study, children received whatever local care was available in their community.

After the 5 months of study, researchers saw no significant differences between the two groups.

Does this mean music therapy is ineffective for children with autism?

Hardly! In fact, some experts are expressing their doubts about the study, particularly the 5-month length of it.

“I wonder about five months,” one expert said. “When you’re looking general ability, it’s not a super long time. Every parent knows their child. If this (music therapy) is something that really engages their child, then I would say this could certainly be something on their menu of choices and activities.”


Research about autism – from its causes, effects and remedies – continues to be carried out, and we’ll bring you the latest updates in this column.

If your child has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or you suspect your child has an autism spectrum disorder, contact The Fitzgerald Law Firm.

The first consultation is always free and our number is 800-323-9900.