Benefits of Music for Children With Special Needs

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A nonprofit group is using music to break through barriers in the lives of children with special needs. Kids are forging new friendships and learning a thing or two about life along the way. 
It's no secret that music has an undeniable way to change a person's mood. For years, health care professionals have used music therapy to help patients find comfort, fight stress, or even ease pain. But what about music’s effect on a child on the spectrum? Volunteers from the San Clemente area in California are not only teaching children about music, they’re healing them with its power. 
Rock the Autism (RTA) is a nonprofit organization bringing music to those living with autism. Partnering with the San Clemente Boys & Girls Club of California, the team offers weekly jam sessions along with special events throughout the year.

"I’ve seen that almost all of these kids have totally come out of their shells," says co-founder David "Rocky" Neidhardt III on the Roland Blog.
Music has the capacity to provide a positive outlet for creative expression for children with special needs. In fact, research [PDF] from the American Music Therapy Association suggests a positive connection between music and cognitive functioning. There is even evidence supporting the encouraging changes that music can have on behavior, verbal skills, and self-expression. 
"RTA has been an absolute game-changer for Alex," says one parent on the Rock the Autism page. "He appears to have a natural gift for music, and RTA has helped nurture and strengthen those abilities."

Whether through drums, a guitar, or singing, music can be a motivating and fun way to teach a child with special needs.

Check out our ASD resources and let us know about your experiences with music therapy!
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“Every individual on this earth deserves to be treated with compassion, understanding, and the right to keep their dignity intact. This can be difficult to honor at times when someone loses control of their behavior, but that’s where Rational Detachment and not taking it personally really kicks in. What has helped me be able to do this well goes back to the first day I was introduced to Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training. I was a participant before becoming a Certified Instructor (and before working for CPI), and over the years I have had so many opportunities to use what I learned way back then. Today, I live the skills automatically. It’s an honor to have been given those skills to live the philosophy of treating others the way I want to be treated.”