Alternative Therapies For Children With Autism

Autism presents with a wide variation of signs and symptoms, and these behaviors are often addressed differently depending on the needs of the child. Various types of therapies prove to have a positive effect on these children. Some of them include music therapy, dance and movement therapy, and pet therapy.

Music Therapy

Music therapy aims to enhance meaningful relationships through interactions and communication with the use of music as stimulus. Music is used to aid communication and emotional expression. It promotes eye contact, improves oral muscle strength through singing and instrument playing, and enhances vocal ability. It also enhances creativity, expression of feelings, motivation, and self-confidence. It also promotes controlled sensory stimulation, which reduces overloading of information. Music therapy provides an opportunity for children to interact and enhance their social skills. Instrument playing also improves fine motor skills and body awareness.

Dance and Movement Therapy

Dance therapy entails the use of movement to improve emotional expression motor strength. Some therapies include ballroom, jazz, ballet, and even body psychotherapy. Children with autism often do not have sufficient mind and body awareness. Hence movement therapy through dance can be of great benefit for them. Studies reveal that children with ASD are reported to have improved social skills and self-esteem following dance therapy through imitation of simple motions, mirroring techniques, touch therapy, and the use of different props like scarf, ribbons, and elastic bands promoting big movements. Dancing also improves their attention and concentration span, and memory and recapitulation ability. It also gives them the opportunity to develop trust. Movement therapy also improves sensory integration.

Pet Therapy

According to research, interaction between pets and autistic children can be a huge inclusion to their therapeutic intervention. Parents of children with autism observe that although their child lacks effective interaction with other people, he or she acts differently when it comes to dealing with house pets. Children with regular exposure to domestic pets act playful and more focused around animals. Pet therapy does not only mean having a family pet in the house, but can also mean being exposed to programs like horseback riding, or interactions with dolphins. Animal- assisted therapy can improve their coordination, strength, and overall sense of well being. It increases their attention span and improves their thinking and learning ability. Children who regularly interact with pets are also found to be more aware of their surroundings and generally are in a better mood.