Music is an invaluable tool to reach out to children with autism. Understanding more about how we can use this tool can help us integrate this technique into classroom education. This article on songs for autistic children talks about how we can use songs with children with autism for various purposes. It also suggests some tips and ideas to be kept in mind while choosing songs to use with autistic children.
Songs in Education:
Songs can be used in education to teach new vocabulary as well as new concepts. Songs with words can help reinforce literacy skills. A song based on the story can help to improve understanding. Songs about colors or those that incorporate numbers can be used to teach these concepts.
Songs in Sensory Activities:
Sensory activities are usually part of most interventions for autism. The right kind of songs and music can be used with sensory interventions. Action songs done with actions can also be a great sensory activity. A lot of preschool movement and music songs incorporate a variety of actions that will provide sensory stimulation to a child with autism.
Sing Along Songs:
Singing in a group can be one way of improving verbal skills. Children with autism with difficulties in language and verbal communication can practice verbal skills with sing along songs. Simple songs with monosyllables and sounds in them are easier for children with autism to start with.
Use Songs to Add Routine
Children with autism like structure and routine. This helps them feel comfortable, and learn better. One way to achieve this is to use specific songs as part of the daily routine. You could have a song that is sung in the morning, a song sung during hand washing, a singing session at a specific time of the day, and a specific song sung before the children go home. The songs will help add structure to the day, and will help children anticipate what comes next.
Helping Children Enjoy Songs
Songs with simple words: Make sure that all the songs that you use for children with autism have simple language. Too many new words, or too many different sentences in a song may make it difficult to follow.
Avoid abstract language: A lot of children’s songs contain nonsense words and abstract language. Children with autism struggle with understanding and using both. Thus, choose songs that are based on things that they can see, and know, and understand rather than things that they need to imagine. Avoid songs with nonsense words.
Songs and pictures: Pictures can be used as a tool to get children with autism more involved in the song. Pictures help children to understand what the song is about, and the connection between the lines of the song. It helps them make the song into a story.
Music and Words: Writing the words of the song on a large board and helping older children who can read to follow it, is another way to help children learn the words of songs and understand them.
Learning words of the songs: Help children learn words of songs by using pictures, as well as actions that are to be used with the song.
Repeat familiar songs: Repeating familiar songs over the week in the class, helps children feel safe and comfortable. Children with autism like the feeling of familiarity, and in a classroom situation where lesson plans and activities change every day, they enjoy things that remain the same like familiar books, or familiar songs.
Thus these are some ideas for how you can use songs for autistic children. Find out more about how you can use music in your classroom for children with autism.
The contents of this article have not been copied from anywhere. All the information and ideas are based on my personal experience.