George has autistic spectrum disorder and has been having music therapy at Nordoff Robbins for over three years, since he was six years old. At first he was extremely anxious about meeting new people and needed to be accompanied to the room by his parents. He avoided eye-contact with other people and was socially isolated, particularly at school.
George had individual sessions where the therapist encouraged him to improvise music on the instruments. Here he discovered a passion for music that drives him to overcome his social difficulties. Through the musical interaction that arose between George and his therapist, he became more self-assured and eventually he was able to join a small group with other children his age.
Recently George confidently took the lead in the group session ‘conducting’ the others during improvised music-making, showing them with gestures and facial expressions how he wanted the music to go. He encouraged a newer member of the group to play, directing him to play slow or fast, loud or soft.
George also likes to play the guitar. He imagines he is in a band and creates his own lyrics. It is a huge change from the child who found it difficult to come into the room or make eye-contact.
Through music George has found a creative outlet for his feelings and become a more confident and outgoing child. George’s parents have found that since coming to Nordoff Robbins George has coped better with school life, particularly interacting with other children. They have described how music therapy is not only the highlight of George’s week but that it has played an important part in making life easier for all of the family.
George’s mothers says: “Music therapy has definitely been of benefit to George. It helps him to express himself, to co-operate with others, and to reduce anxiety.”
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