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The study points out that music improves autistic communication skills

French and Canadian researchers have found that improvement concerns stimulation of the brain stimulated by music


Nov. 9 2018, 13h28

São Paulo – One published study this week in Translational Psychology magazine suggests that music activities, such as singing and playing instruments, can improve communicative abilities for autistic children.

Autism affects 1 out of 59 children in Brazil. Since severe diagnosis and treatment, the disorder has genetic causes.

Over 70 years, science studies the relationship between autism and music. To better understand the relationship, researchers from the University of Montreal in France and McGill University, Canada, underwent three months of clinical trials with children aged 6 to 12.

Participating parents responded to the questionnaires on the communication skills of their children who had MRI recorded so that researchers could see brain activity on each other.

During the study, the children were divided into two groups: the first participated in weekly 45-minute therapies, interacting with music, and the other had sessions of therapy with the same activities but without music.

After three months, parents of children who worked with music recorded significant advances in children in communication and quality of life.

New MRI scans in patients in the first group suggest that improvements are a result of increased linkage between the motor and auditory areas of the brain and less association between the auditory and visual regions that are commonly seen in autistic persons.

According to Megha Shardi, author of the research, the results are encouraging. The researcher explains that for people with autism can be a challenge to publicize what others are saying, thinking of answering and ignoring the noise around them. That is why it is essential that the links in the brain are favorable.

This is the first study that shows that music activities with autistic children can lead to improved communication and brain connectivity in autistic children.

"We will have to replicate this result with several therapists at different levels of training to determine if there are any effects," says Chris Hyde, a psychologist at the University of Montreal.

Megha adds that it is important to note that the study did not find any changes in the symptoms of autism. "That may be because we do not have enough machines sensitive to measuring changes in the behavior of social interaction," he says.

The team of researchers develop tools to evaluate whether communication skills improvement can be linked to interaction between children and therapists.

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