Autism spectrum disorder, though its causes are not exactly known, is defined as the dysfunction of brain. According to Cavkaytar, there have been several neurobiological and environmental theories aiming to explaining the causes of autism spectrum disorder. Neurobiological causes include the coexistence of multiple genes, genetic impacts, the discrepancies between the central nervous system and the brain. Certain findings have been obtained from previous research, concerning that these causes play an important role in the occurrence of autism spectrum disorder. Theories which assert that environmental causes such as vaccines, various toxins and certain foods lead up to this condition are yet to be backed by scientific grounds. Swiss child psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler was first to use the term “autism”. Bleuler defined the autistics as schizophrenics abstracted from outer world. Later, American child psychiatrist Leo Kenner stated in 1943 that autism is caused by dismissive mothers and wrong child upbringing by parents. Leo Kenner concluded the fact that autistic children exhibit many different behavioral characteristics than other children and these differences may even be seen in early childhood. Kanner listed these different behavioral characteristics as delayed language and speech, normal physical growth and development, extreme commitment to sameness and repetitive behaviors.
There is no specific cure to this disorder that we happen to hear of today more often. It is possible to ensure that the autistics come to a point where they can live on with the help of individual education programs to be prepared for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The fact that music education should be included in these programs has been supported by several scientific studies. It is a proven fact how positive and lasting effects music has on normally growing children's affective and psychomotor development. Teaching the concepts and skills to be taught to children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and make them acquire linguistic and communicative skills through music should be a perfect method for such children completely abstracted from outer world. Indeed, no contrary cases have been observed in scientific studies both domestically and abroad. However, regrettably, the statistical research and our observations as researchers show that there are no music teachers teaching at many special educational institutions that actively operate. This makes it imperative for us to increase the awareness by conducting more studies which support that music has a partially healing effect on the problematic behaviors observed in children with autism spectrum disorder and a positive, lasting effect on teaching concepts-skills, linguistic development and communicative skills.
The aim of this study is to examined related resources, literature and previous research, and emphasize that music is a very important tool in the education of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. It is also aimed to reveal certain applications that can be practiced in special educational institutions which provide education for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, and to offer suggestions that can be useful for positive, radical changes in the lives of autistic children.
Key Words: Music Education, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Special Education.