Music is one of the most rich and complex forms of sensory stimulation. It can be modified in ways that stimulate specific neural networks in the brain. Music therapy is an evidence-based treatment for autism that can lead to improvements in sensory integration, self-regulation, social interaction, and communication. Music therapists employ the tools of music and rhythm to advance language, sensory processing and integration, and motor planning and execution.
Occupational therapy targets skills that will help an individual with his or her “occupation” – a child’s occupation is to play, interact with others, and carry out basic life skills. Therefore, occupational therapy for children is aimed at a wide range of skills that span these areas (e.g., self-care, fine motor skills, sensory processing & integration, social-emotional skills, & self-regulation).
Physical therapy focuses on building and refining gross motor skills (large-scale movements of the legs, arms, and trunk). It also builds strength, coordination, and endurance. Physical therapy and sustained physical exercise lead to biochemical changes in the body that support neuroplasticity and brain development.