F.I.M. Federazione Italiana Musicoterapeuti

Children autism, autistic syndrome, features of autism

Age of development


Rise in the child (teenager) the deliberateness for listening as essential condition to receive the emotions to live, to relate with the world of things, with oneself, with the others. Respect the child’s gestures and behaviours to manage to understand their values and go towards their overcoming. Receive and enhance, also through comments, the interpretation which is given by the parent for every sign of new gesture.

Scientific Aspects

Listening to the child: in humanistic music therapy the term empathy has the deep value which involves the unconditioned acceptation of the other, the respect of his emotion, the becoming part of his history by the dialogue, the action, the discussion as to seize even the smallest sign of evolution and change.
The communicative value of the child’s behaviours.
Every child with autism has particular behaviours, with subjective features. These are the signs which help the child to say something about him, his history. It is important to welcome these behaviours in order that we realize that everything he does is important. It is the starting of the dialogue that, on the basis of the numerous experiences already done, is possible to establish also with the autistic children.
The appreciation of the communicative value of postures, attitudes, way of breathing (apnoeas are frequent) is determining.
The communicative value of the voice, its intonation (the vocal register) or the type of vocalise are indicative signs of the story of the child. The Body Talks with all its parts.
Through the enhancement of the child’s behaviours we notice that more often than we could think the child, even if he understands the words, shows not to understand them at all. Not to play, to touch, to take, to look do not manage to prevent the sounds to arrive to the child. In fact, it is not us that reach the sounds; it is the sound waves that reach us. The music therapist has in his fingers a charming game, still unknown, that seems to be irresistible also for an autistic child. Talking to the child through the clinical improvisation at the piano means not asking him anything; the communication is just emotional. The game of sound – music – silence – wait creates those moments of listening in which the child, with a light in his eyes, cannot hide to be sensible to what is “beautiful”, to need such an unreal and intangible, but that can be touched, thing like the sound waves. We do not talk only of a sound but of the beauty of the melody supported by harmony. We are attracted by the beauty of songs and of melody because the low sounds support them. Low sounds make the corporeity co-vibrate; the sounds of a song or a melody touch all the body which is finally co-vibrating. The road is open towards those events which cannot be predicted. It is enough a slight movement of the pelvis, the shoulders, of a hand, a face muscle to indicate that an apparently unchangeable system of an autistic child in reality hides the desire of breaking the schemes.
The term “unpredictable” is fair for the respect of subjectivity. The Sound Dialogue, in this case strictly reserved to a piano/voice (as resonance and vocalise) and to the child’s corporeity, reveals results which escape any prediction. Any reaction is ok. It is ok because reaction means existence. Any reaction is the denial of autism. Then there is the difficult process of becoming, which is the path that is realised in the Circular Relationship.

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Translations Chiara Meloni