Tempo-based music treatment

pattern of Clapping Music, Steve Reich

Image via Wikipedia

Tempo-based music treatment is using structured tempo-based rhythm interventions, like marching, clapping, playing instruments, or blowing a flute at a specific speed to assist with sensory integration. Recently, Dorita Berger (and others) presented a research poster at the New York Academy of Sciences – Music, Science & Medicine: Frontiers in Biomedical Research & Clinical Applications meeting, called “Tempo-based music treatment for inducing rhythmic entrainment, systemic pacing & redirection of repetitive behaviors for children on the autism spectrum.”

One theory is that the behaviors in children on the Autism spectrum resemble fight-or-flight responses due to habitual states of fear that may be caused by sensory integration issues. The study presented in this poster session used structured tempo-based interventions at 60-beats-per-minute, to reduce repetitive behaviors, increase attention and focus, and calm down the nervous system. For 8 weeks, the study subjects (children diagnosed with Autism) receive 45 minutes of music therapy with interventions that addressed breath control, regulation of arm movements, upper and lower body coordination, and drumming. The children wore a vest that monitored their heart-rate during the session. The results indicated that music therapy helped with motor planning, visual contact, attention, and reducing repetitive behaviors. There was also some evidence that the children’s heart rates slowed to match the 60 beats per minute of the music.

Research like this could mean that music can help your child reduce anxiety and increase sensory integration. For more tips on using music with your child, sign up for my free report: Six Songs to Connect with Your Child! You’ll also receive a newsletter each week with more tips and information.