Music Therapy, Sensory Integration, and the Autistic Child

By Dorita S. Berger | Go to book overview
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Formulating Music Therapy Treatment
for Sensory Adaptation Goals

Music therapy, we are reminded often throughout this book, is a clinical treatment. Yet it is [entertaining] and [fun]. That is precisely why music works so well. (Cherry-flavored medicine is still medicine!) Once the physiologic stress systems relax, new messages are allowed up from the paleoencephalon to the neo-cortex for high-level cognitive processing and retention. In effect, music acts to reduce stress in the paleoencephalon so that instinctive and cognitive learning can take place in new ways. Therefore music is perhaps the single, most direct and powerful catalyst in helping to reorganize autistic and other atypically stressed systems. Previous chapters discussed brain function, adaptation, sensory systems, audition, music elements, and interaction of these with the work of music therapy.

There is at least one further consideration that needs to be made clear: [Adaptation] does not imply [cure]! Adaptation means the setting of new homeostatic reference points new standards by which the brain and nervous systems check physiologic information, comfort levels and well-being, causing the body and mind to react more beneficially to stimuli.

Adaptation implies adjustment to another alternative. Cure implies removing a disease altogether. It would be an ideal world if [adaptation] and [cure] were synonymous, but this is not the case. Unfortunately, caregivers, teachers, even therapists, would like to look upon [therapy] as a [cure]. This issue is being raised at this point because in order fully to comprehend and integrate the information presented thus far into the work of


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Music Therapy, Sensory Integration, and the Autistic Child


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