Thursday, September 14, 2017

Music Therapy and Neurological Disorders

Filed under Autism

The Auburn Journal recently featured a music therapist, Tara McConnell, and her group “Crescendo,” a weekly music therapy group designed for those with neurological impairments such as Parkinson’s Disease, stroke or traumatic brain injury, and their families.

In the article, McConnell identifies the goals of the group: “Increasing communication and supporting the voice; motor planning and movement; and cognition.”

Music therapy increases communication and supports the voice because singing, humming, or playing specific instruments strengthen the same muscles that we use when speaking. Music can also promote communication, even when spontaneous communication is impaired, such as with Alzheimer’s.

Music therapy improves motor planning and movement because there is a direct connection between the motor cortex and the auditory cortex in the brain. You’ve experienced this whenever you’ve heard music that you feel compelled to dance to! Music therapists use this property of music in specific ways to promote rehabilitation of motor impairments.

Music therapy improves cognition because music stimulates large areas of the brain, including those that handle attention, memory, and executive functions, like decision-making and impulse control.

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