Music Therapy, Sensory Integration, and the Autistic Child

By Dorita S. Berger | Go to book overview


Appendix A
The Role of Music in
Physiologic Accommodation

Its Ability to Elicit Reflexive, Adaptive, and Inscriptive Responses

Daniel J. Schneck, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and Dorita S. Berger, Board-Certified Music Therapist, Norwalk, Connecticut

Literally, the word [accommodate] means [to] (ac- or ad-) + [measure] (-modus) + [with] (-com-), or [to fit.] Thus, in a general sense, physiological accommodation refers to the ability that a whole organism—or part thereof, such as an organ or tissue—has to acclimate itself either to a new, different, modified, possibly threatening, or otherwise special situation—or to a change, variation, permutation, or other diversification in its intended use. Moreover, depending on the time-scale associated with both the onset and the persistence of the acclimation process, accommodation may be described as being short-term, medium-term, or long-term. That is to say, accommodation may be one of the following:

Immediate (or at worst, minimally delayed), but relatively short-lived (on the or-
der of minutes or less); i.e., instantaneous, temporary and transient—examples of
which include instinctively reflexive [fight or flight] responses to
life-threatening disturbances, sensory facilitation that results from persistent
stimulation, and neural accommodation that follows continuous excitation.
Significantly delayed, but lasting longer (perhaps up to an entire single life-span);
i.e., phase-shifted from the perturbing stimulus, but sustained in a steady-state
sense. In the latter case the responses become conditioned reflexes (in the [Pav-
lov's dogs] sense), [tenured adaptive responses] (in the sense of bone remodeling
under stress, and other examples of functional adaptation), and/or behavioral mod-
ifications (such as the geographic relocation of whole populations).
Permanent, long-term (lasting generations) adjustments that are actually in-
scribed into genetic changes that get carried forward into future progeny. Exam

-176-

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