Last year, we had Life Coach Julie Morris share about “Learning New Hobbies at any stage of your life”. Click here for that article. Today, she shares with us the benefits of music in relation to ADHD.
By Life Coach Julie Morris
Music Therapy and How It Can Help Your Child with ADHD
Parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are always looking for new ways to help their child, and their efforts are often met with frustration and dead ends. Many parents are wary of relying too heavily on medication, and thus want to find natural, safe, holistic methods to help their children focus and succeed. While there is no blanket solution for ADHD, there is growing evidence that music therapy can be of great benefit.
Anyone can participate in music therapy
According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is a practice in which “music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.” One does not have to be a skilled musician to benefit from music therapy, and it can encompass listening to, performing, or even composing music.
Music Therapy and ADHD
Why is music therapy increasingly being used as a treatment strategy for children with ADHD? One theory is that it may have to do with the structure music provides, which enhances one’s executive functioning. ADHD is, in essence, an inability to focus and lack of structure. Music is all about structure, cohesiveness, and the ability for many parts to work together as a whole. The subtle introduction of music into the activities of kids with ADHD can help to improve multitasking.
Psychology Today has another thought on why music therapy is so helpful to those with ADHD, and it’s backed up by a lot of science. ADHD is characterized by a lack of dopamine in the brain. Stimulants are often prescribed to those with ADHD, because they spike dopamine levels. Dopamine is crucial to the brain’s ability to work on a synapse level. You may see where this is going … music is proven to cause the release of dopamine in the brain. Thus, it’s a natural way to achieve similar results to prescription medication.
How you can practice music therapy at home
Regardless of you musical knowledge, start experimenting with using music to help your child focus and calm down. There is no perfect music therapy method. Every child is different. You should try a combination of listening to music, singing, and even composition or writing lyrics. See what works for your child. The jury is still out on the best type of music for ADHD music therapy, as it kind of depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Experiment with your child and see what promotes the desired effect. A good place to start is with some wordless, rhythm-heavy pieces. Try these classical masterpieces.
Using music in conjunction with a calm, organized home environment
Unfortunately, you can’t solve everything with music (as nice as that would be). Music needs to be used as therapy in a therapeutic environment. You must create a safe, calm, and organized home environment before you begin to experiment with music therapy.
“Children with ADHD often function better when their environments are conducive to learning. Maintaining a neat, orderly home, implementing routines and systems, and teaching your child the skills she needs to stay organized and on-task will help her cope more readily with the demands she faces at school and at home on a day-to-day basis,” according to HomeAdvisor.
Every child is different. ADHD can affect a child’s behavior in different ways at different times of the day, and it can vary from week-to-week or month-to-month. Music has a proven track record of helping people with ADHD focus, remain cognitively engaged, and improve their self-esteem and social skills. You can surely consult a licensed music therapist — and that may be your best option — but music is music no matter where and how it’s consumed. You can begin to experiment with music therapy to help your child today, at home
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