The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) specifically featured Music Therapy (MT) to benefit individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in their April 2016 Clinical Digest: “The existing evidence base indicates that melatonin may be beneficial for sleep disorders associated with ASD. Music therapy may have a positive effect on social interaction, and communication and behavioral skills in those affected by ASDs. However, there is insufficient evidence to determine whether other complementary health approaches such as modified diets, supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids or vitamin B6, or chelation are efficacious for ASD symptoms” (NCCIH, 2016).
The e-newsletter compares the evidence-base, efficacy, and safety of common approaches to help those with ASD. Evidence for MT’s efficacy is attributed to the 2014 Cochrane review (Geretsegger, M., Elefant, C., Mössler, K.A., & Gold, C., 2014) “of 10 studies involving a total of 165 children with ASD found that music therapy was superior to “placebo” therapy or standard care for social interaction, non-verbal and verbal communication skills, initiating behavior, and social-emotional reciprocity. The review concluded that music therapy may help children with ASD to improve their skills in areas such as social interaction and communication, and may also contribute to increasing social adaptation skills in children with ASD and to promoting the quality of parent-child relationships” (NCCIH, 2016).
Geretsegger, M., Elefant, C., Mössler, K.A., & Gold, C. (2014). Music therapy for people with autism spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD004381. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004381.pub3
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). (April 2016). Autism Spectrum Disorder and Complementary Health Approaches. Retrieved from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/autism-spectrum-disorder