Music therapy for the autistic children | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Music therapy for the autistic children

kolkata Updated: Apr 27, 2007 20:16 IST
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To understand and make little Anusha do her work was very difficult for her parents as well as her near ones. To understand her interpretation and her gesture was equally difficult. The reason behind such situation is that, Anusha is an autistic child.

According to the experts it is difficult to communicate with these children, for they basically lack in the ability to decode and encode the gestures and sound signals. They suffer from social, communication and flexible impairment, for which they often develop extreme personality and behave unnaturally.

Although there are clinical therapies in order to support the children, experts are now opting for other methods to give respite to these children as well as their parents. Music therapy is one such area, which is into vogue and the experts at the Calcutta University, has conducted a survey, which says that Hindustani Classical music tends to have immense behavioural changes.

The department of Psychology has conducted a survey on autistic children to register their behavioural changes after going through the music therapy. “The music therapy is very common in the west, with jazz, classical and instrumental music works variedly on a person. It is for this reason we selected Hindustani classical music for the purpose as we have a large history music in our culture,” said professor Mallika Banerjee, head of the department and principal investigator of the project.

The experts selected a bagful of Hindustani ragas according to their tonal quality. Four ragas, which were taken for the therapy, were ragas, hamsadwani, deepak, pilu, mishra pilu, and shree. The recitals played on flute have been used for the therapy. About 20 children belonging to mild to high level of autism underwent the therapy for period of two to three hours daily.

And the result was, after undergoing the therapy where child was induced with the hamsadwani and deepak ragas it prompted very aggressive behaviour from the child. On contrary when the same child was induced with ragas pilu, mishra pilu and shree, the behaviour was just the opposite. The child was calm rather he was ready to perform anything. "When the child was given tasks it was found that the therapeutic intervention of music had increased the level of expressibility which is genarlly measured on a scale," added professor Banerjee. The general myth of the ragas also satisfy the results, which says that deepak and hamsadwani generate heat, while pilu, mishra pilu and shree imparts a soothing effect. "What we understood from this that as the first two has very sharp tonal work and suddeen spikes which agitate the brain cells while the others mostly travel through lower notes giving a soft tonal effect without any sharp spikes,” explained professor Banerjee.

On the other hand, at Manovikas Kendra Rehabilitation and Research Institute for the Handicapped, these children are given two types of therapy. "One of them being the multi-sensory therapy, which induces our five senses. And the other being the hydro therapy which help them to develop concentration and help them to reamain calm," said AK Sanyal, project director and CEO of the institute. Apart from these children perform yoga so that they can develop their personality.