Music can be a powerful healing tool, when used in the right way and in the right dose. rajam shanker, a music therapist, uses select ragas for healing autistic children, with dramatic results
Music Therapy and AutismThe use of music therapy in autism can be divided into three stages: detoxification, awakening of cells, and strengthening of cells. In about eight to nine weeks, the child calms down, is less hyperactive, less irritable and accepts the therapy willingly. By about 12 weeks, he /she begins to participate in the therapy. This is the end of the detoxification stage.
The duration of second stage depends on the age of the child, and the regularity of therapy – from seven to 12 months. This period of awakening can be noticed when the child starts trying out his vocal chords. The child may show some perceptible signs of positive response, like smiling, listening and following given instructions. Appetite improves and overall, the child is happy.
There are visible changes in the third stage. The child uses his vocal chords, may start humming, makes eye contact, and even speaks in sentences. He is comfortable in his environment, and accepts other children. There is a marked improvement in the sense of balance and co-ordination of thought and speech. This is a period of self-healing without much support from the therapist.
Every child is unique, however, with variations in the degree of healing according to the age and severity of symptoms.
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