Music therapy is being used in an increasing number of contexts to provide support for a range of complex mental health needs. It has also been used for many years to help the ongoing development of service users with various developmental disabilities. Evidence suggests that people living with autism are one group that may be able to benefit from the unique interventions music therapy can provide.
Those in care home jobs for learning disabilities in Basingstoke should consider any kind of therapy that can improve outcomes and quality of life for their service users. This includes music therapy, which has been shown to improve communication skills, self-expression and social development among service users with autism.
What is music therapy?
At its most basic, music therapy is the use of various musical elements and techniques, such as rhythm, melody, song and instruments, to provide support for people with a range of mental health issues or disabilities.
The actual structure of a therapy session can vary widely depending on the individual therapist and the needs of the service user. It may involve singing or utilising any of a number of different musical instruments. Music therapy can be considered receptive when it involves listening to other people’s music, or active when service users create the music themselves. It does not require actual musical ability and is not the same as being taught to play an instrument.
How can it specifically help people living with autism?
A particular advantage of music therapy is that you do not need to be able to speak to experience its benefits. Service users with autism often experience communication difficulties, including being non-verbal, so music therapy may be accessible to them in a way other therapies are not.
Being able to listen to or create music gives autistic people a new way to interact with the world around them, and a form of expression not dependent on their verbal communication skills. The volume, pitch and speed of music can be used to deliver a specific feeling or belief, just as people change their tone of voice in different situations.
Service users with autism also often find comfort in repetition, so music with regular rhythm can provide the strong pattern they need to help regulate their own thoughts and emotions. There is also often a strong collaborative element to musical creation and performance, providing autistic service users with new opportunities for social interaction with less anxiety.
Music therapy in care home jobs for learning disabilities in Basingstoke
There are a range of ways you may want to incorporate music therapy into the service you provide. This could include providing music that matches non-verbal communication to help service users find new ways to express themselves, or teaching rhythmic patterns as a form of self-soothing and emotional regulation. It may involve collaborative projects where autistic service users have the opportunity to work together to produce music. Playing instruments may improve mobility and coordination.
Any care home jobs for learning disabilities in Basingstoke could benefit from the utilisation of music therapy for people living with autism who need additional support. It can ease some of the anxieties and communication difficulties these service users often experience and provide new opportunities for social interaction and self-expression.