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More Magical Medicine of Music

Happy Down Syndrome Girl

In last September's blog, "The Magical Medicine of Music", I detailed a list of benefits imparted to us though music. Some of these benefits included lowering your blood pressure, improving your mood, reducing your stress, and even decreasing your level of pain. Today I want to highlight some amazing benefits for children displaying delays in speech and motor development.

Although the concept of using music for healing has been known since Aristotle, our understanding of the depths of the benefits have grown significantly in the past 100 years. We are learning how music taps into all regions of the brain and facilitates learning. It has helped usher in speech in non-verbal children. The program "Sing, Spell, Read and Write" is a language arts program designed years ago that incorporates this idea.

On Facebook, I recently saw a post from a mom showing her young boy (non-verbal) singing and strumming a guitar. She mentioned how he could sing but struggled to talk. I mentioned to her that I would write a blog on this subject - so here it is!

Just how does music usher in language skills? This is going to get technical - so hold on! "When music input enters into the auditory nerve and into the Central Nervous System (CNS), most of the information goes to the brain for processing, but some input goes straight to the motor nerves in our spinal cord. This allows our muscles to start moving without even thinking about it." (1)

"Did you know that listening to or singing along with music uses the same neural circuits as expressing speech? Music, the rhythm, the beat, the cadence, even the lyrics share neural circuits used for language. This is why music therapy has helped many kids with speech, language, auditory, balance, coordination and emotional grounding. Music combined with movement often stabilizes and opens the brain for higher learning." (1) These areas include speech, language, reading, writing, math, problem solving and critical thinking.

As I mentioned in last September's blog, our son, who struggles with Dyslexia, was able to improve one grade level in reading with just 3 months of music/educational therapy at the Stowell Learning Center. His progress seemed miraculous.

We all need music in our lives, as we all struggle with something. Music is a treasure that can heal and enrich all of us.

(1) "Music Therapy: Study Says Music Key for Non-Verbal Children and Children with Speech and Language Delays", March 30, 2016.

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