The link between autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and music is well known. Now, researchers from University of Montreal, Canada have concluded that music-based intervention is effective in improving the communication skills of ASD children. The results are published in Translational Psychiatry.
Improved communications skills in children who underwent the music intervention could be a result of increased connectivity between auditory and motor regions of the brain, and decreased connectivity between auditory and visual regions, which are commonly observed to be over-connected in people with autism. The optimal connectivity between these regions is crucial for integrating sensory stimuli in our environment and are essential for social interaction. For example, when we are communicating with another person, we need to pay attention to what they are saying, plan ahead to know when it is our turn to speak and ignore irrelevant noise. For people with autism, this can often be a challenge.
"Importantly, our study, as well as a recent large-scale clinical trial on music intervention, did not find changes with respect to autism symptoms themselves," authors this study added. "This may be because we do not have a tool sensitive enough to directly measure changes in social interaction behaviors."