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Lim To Share Research On Music, Autism At International Conference

Feb. 26, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Hayoung Lim, assistant professor of music therapy and coordinator of the music therapy graduate program in the SHSU School of Music, will kick off her spring break a few days early in India as a keynote speaker at an international conference being held in the country.

Hayoung LimLim will discuss her research on the impact of music on children with autism as part of the International Conference on Developmental Disability, which will be held March 6-8 at the University of Calcutta, in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

Lim said that India has no working experience in music therapy at all, and after learning about her work through Lim’s publisher, the London-based Jessica Kingsley Publishers, researchers at the University of Calcutta found the topic fascinating.

“My research on enhancing speech-language development through musical activity in children with autism spectrum-disorders really caught their attention,” Lim said.

Lim was asked to open the conference and will discuss why music for speech-language development is effective, discussing some of her studies on the topic and presenting some of the scientific background and evidence she accumulated.

“I’m going to talk about my own clinical experience and show some of my music therapy clinical session video at the keynote, and then also on the following day, they asked me to do two hours of workshop on the development of speech language training through music, so I’m going to present a lot of hands-on music therapy interventions for children with developmental disabilities,” she said.

“(After she received information on the conference, she realized) It’s a lot bigger than I thought,” she said. “I think the University of Calcutta, itself, is one of the bigger, top schools in India, and people from all over India and Europe will be presenting and do some panels, so it will be a really great opportunity for myself, as well; I’m really excited.”

Lim also will be taking with her graduate student Selina Pishori, who has some Indo-Pakistan background; therefore, Lim believed Pishori would be a good person to explore her options in music therapy in India while they are there.

“We were able to find some financial aid through graduate studies, so she’s going with me too,” Lim said.

Lim has worked in the area of the effect of music on developmentally disabled children since her time as a doctoral student.

Her book “Developmental Speech-Language Training through Music for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders” was published in 2012 and her work has been instrumental in connecting music to various speech-language acquisition principals that can help low-functioning children with autism.

Some low-functioning children with autism lack all ability to communicate, and Lim’s research has found that children with autism have the same impulse trigger to “fill in the blank” of a pattern as people without autism.

For her dissertation, Lim compared the effectiveness of traditional speech-language training with the training through music and found what she calls a significant effect. Her work has received worldwide attention.

“I found that music training is as effective as speech training for all children with autism,” she has said. “When I divided children with autism into the different levels of function, high-level and low-level, I found that for low-functioning children with autism, music training has more of an effect on them. For high-functioning children, both music and speech are effective, but for low-functioning children, music is more effective.

“I had a lot of students who never had a functional vocabulary who just loved to respond to the music and then eventually they started to say words.”

The conference, sponsored by the university’s psychology department, will bring together a country-wide audience of professionals, young researchers, students and eminent academicians from the fields of psychology and related fields of social science in an intensive discussion on issues and aspects of developmental disability.

Its aim is to provide a platform where participants can share, learn, interact and exchange upon multidimensional aspects of disability studies, from the diagnostic frame, socio-legal cultural, familial resources, financial concerns, to management rehabilitation and awareness issues.



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