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Is playing music to children with special needs helpful to most: An interview with researcher on Autism Day
As the world observes the World Autism Awareness Day (April 2) for raising awareness and sensitivity towards people with autism disorder spectrum, a parent of such a child in Jaipur interviewed a researcher.

The parent has been attending the functions on World Autism Day; in which recorded music was played for autistic children as well as some autistic children played percussion music for the gathering that included similar children. To him, things appeared a bit odd since he saw such rituals as an unanalyzed institution habit and he had certain queries during the interview.

Parent: Should recorded music be played on the special day events for differently abled children while they wait the event to formally begin?

Researcher: Conventional music in a gathering through loudspeakers is a damaging 'secondary noise' for most differently abled children. Only a few of them can comprehend the simple rhythmic music on which one-to-one therapy after diagnosis can be useful, rest is all damaging, that too applied by a certified music therapist. As it is done in the functions, sometimes touting that the played music as a therapy, is highly damaging for differently abled children. The certified therapists call it a quackery indulged by music-therapy illiterate people in position of authority.

Parent: Sometimes certain mild, moderate or borderline disabled children's 'musical talent' is displayed for motivational purposes; what do you say about that? 

Researcher: Rather, the case studies should be shared or presentation should be made by the therapists for the caregivers instead of mouthing the motivational words for the differently abled children whose language development is delayed and their vocabulary is a highly limited to three-four words related to basic needs of life. High sounding motivational words cannot be comprehended by most differently abled people and they just wonder why these adults are creating din and noise as well clapping. Even forcing them sit through such functions is a physical, sensory and mental torture. And, those who preside over such functions are people with authority and power. The whole function becomes a show off arrogance of little knowing or ignorant people.

How then music should be used for differently abled children?

Music should be used as a designed intervention for non-music use of mitigating or healing the disorder. It should be done in one-to-one clinical settings otherwise it is wrought with dangers and has hindering effect. Elsewhere, only interventions designed by certified and licensed therapists are allowed and everything else is deemed unjust and unfair for differently abled children. Even in the classroom, educational therapists work with children who use adapted music for cognitive and language development on one-to-one basis.

How can one stop the violation of rights of children with special needs by the special schools themselves?

Only social and legal activism by concerned parents and activists can mitigate the problem of children, since they are highly innocent and voiceless. Only concerned care givers and activists can become children's voices. We need to rehabilitate the special schools and teachers therein who have become clever violators of children's rights by not implementing the differentiated and individualized educational plans after valid and reliable diagnosis. Elsewhere it has been done successfully.

(Due to the ethics of interview as research method, the names of the parent and researcher have been kept confidential. However, the interview is subject to meta-research of last and coming ten years.)

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