Music Therapy, Sensory Integration, and the Autistic Child

By Dorita S. Berger | Go to book overview
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Are You Listening?

Part Two: Dimensional Hearing
and Erroneous Assumptions

About Jason

Jason was four years old when he entered the music therapy environment. His diagnosis was PDD/autism, with no expressive language and with undetermined receptive language capabilities. His parents complained that Jason often showed little response to being called by name. They thought he might have hearing problems but audiologists found his hearing to be [normal].

Jason's deportment showed many signs of autism, including flailing arms, facial grimaces, limited eye-contact, oblivion to environment and presence of others, motor-planning deficits, some dyspraxia (lack of motor coordination), quick and chaotic movements in space, tactile defensiveness. His parents sought music therapy because the child [seemed to indicate enjoyment of music, and could sit still when the TV was on, as long as there was music.] Music-based programs and commercials seemed to keep him engaged for limited periods of time.

Despite his apparent [enjoyment] of music, however, Jason's responses in the music therapy studio were far from enthusiastic. As long as the piano was playing, with or without therapist sing-along, Jason either remained crouched in the corner or satellited about the room screaming in teary-eyed agitation. This continued over several subsequent sessions. Music did not appear to be a physiologically [soothing] situation for this child. Efforts on the therapist's part to mimic his behavior by reflecting his actions in


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Music Therapy, Sensory Integration, and the Autistic Child


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