Once per week, a 10-year-old boy diagnosed with autism receives music therapy for 30 minutes. His parents wanted him to improve his communication, social skills, and motor skills. The boy wanted to learn to play the drum set.
During music therapy sessions, the therapist and child sing songs, dance to music, and, of course, play the drum set. When he first began, the child had difficulty with physical endurance and would often complain of feeling tired after only a minute or two of playing the drums or moving to music. A year later, he is communicating more, and has increased his endurance.
His progress is possible because of the training that the music therapist has to individualize teaching strategies, which allows new concepts (such as complex drum set rhythms) to be learned more quickly than by traditional teaching methods. Another important element is the relationship between the therapist and child. The therapist always sets up music activities so that the child will be asked to perform skills to the highest of his abilities, but giving the necessary supports to allow him to be successful each time.