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      Utilising novel research techniques in cognitive neuroscience, such as functional near-infrared spectroscopy, to study how music impacts on the brain activity, function and structure


      Science Impact, Ltd.

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          Kasuya-Ueba has noted that children with ASD are primarily treated for their social and communication dysfunctions, but it has been reported that high rates of children with ASD exhibit some form of attentional problem and therapists know through their clinical experiences that music can aid attention as well. However, she says: ‘There is a possibility that their attentional problems may be overlooked or hard to detect during the assessment process, because behaviours caused by attentional problems can be misattributed to the classic hallmarks of ASD, such as lack of eye contact, social interaction, interest in or connect with other people, and restricted and repetitive interests and activities. We may tend to overlook their attention needs, concentrating instead on their unique social and communicative characteristics.’ Kasuya-Ueba has found little literature that considers the influence of music on the attention function of children with ASD, although there have been some notable studies on adults and older people, and brain-imaging research on long-term musical training for children that are not directly studied, but show possible effects on attention function. She was inspired by her first-hand experience of helping children in clinical practice to delve deeper into the potential for music intervention to transform the lives of children with development disorders. As she explains: ‘I undertook analysis of music therapy activities that were implemented for social and communicative improvements for children with ASD focusing on their attentional requirements. I found that music therapy activities contain elements and factors to enhance their attentional skills that include not only simple focused and sustained attention, but also complex selective attention and attention control including disengagement and shifting attention, and it has been reported that children with ASD often show difficulties.’ Kasuya-Ueba considers attention control to be of fundamental importance to the normal development of children. She says: ‘To respond to one’s environment appropriately in a given cognitive, communicative and social context, a person’s attention should function efficiently. Attentional abilities allow us to perform our daily activities by selecting and focusing on a particular task for as long as needed and to maintain and switch attention between several tasks when needed.’ She adds: ‘Attention is a complex cognitive domain that constitutes the fundamental skill for good cognitive functioning.’ Attention skills develop from early childhood through engagement with our environment, but if the development of these skills is hindered or interrupted, then higher cognitive, social and motor functions may be adversely affected. Kasuya-Ueba says: Without attention, we would be unable to learn, remember, or even communicate with others effectively.’

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          Science Impact, Ltd.
          March 18 2019
          March 18 2019
          : 2019
          : 2
          : 52-54
          © 2019

          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

          Earth & Environmental sciences, Medicine, Computer science, Agriculture, Engineering


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