Abstract and Keywords
Music as a non-verbal form of communication and play addresses the core features of autism, such as social impairments, limited speech, stereotyped behaviors, sensory-perceptual impairments, and emotional dysregulation; thus music-based interventions are well established in therapy and education. Music therapy approaches are underpinned by behavioral, creative, sensory-perceptional, developmental, and educational theory and research. The effectiveness of music therapy in the treatment of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is reflected by a huge number of studies and case reports; current empirical studies aim to support evidence-based practice. A treatment guide for improvisational music therapy provides unique interventions to foster social skills, emotionality, and flexibility; in developmental approaches, the formation of interpersonal relationships is key. Since ASD is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition, music therapy is also appropriate in the treatment of adults with intellectual disability. Diagnostic approaches using musical-interactional settings to assess ASD symptomatology are promising, especially in non-speakers.
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