The interest in music and musical abilities of autistic children have been observed since the earliest descriptions of the condition. Music is a universal language known for millennia and music-based interventions including music therapy have found several applications in the fields of developmental psychology and mental health over the last decades. This group of complementary therapies aims to help the clients to optimize their health, using various facets of musical experience and the relationships formed through them. Several psychological theories and neurobiological models may explain the specific mechanisms through which music-based interventions work for autistic individuals. The present chapter aims to describe the sensorimotor, attentional, emotional, and social processes underpinning the potential effectiveness of music therapy in this population and to provide an overview of the most recent literature findings. At the end of the chapter, an account of the autistic giftedness and talent for music is presented.
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