CHENNAI, INDIA, August 2, 2014 (The Hindu): With the sound of music, we have no trouble locating music therapist Lakshmi Mohan's second-floor house at R.A. Puram. This is not the usual music class where the teacher sings and students repeat after her. For 45 minutes, Lakshmi only sings bhajans and the children come just to listen to her. It's a different kind of after-school activity for these children, who have autism spectrum disorder. They come twice or thrice a week to Lakshmi to listen to the bhajans. "All my children may not speak, but they love, enjoy and respond to music," says Lakshmi, bringing an udukkai drum down from the shelf.
For 12 years now, Lakshmi has shown that bhajans can have therapeutic benefits for children with autism. Lakshmi, who has also authored books on autism, plans to do a thesis on the improvement her students have shown. But, for now, her parents will vouch for the therapeutic effect bhajans have on their children. "My son hardly sits quietly for a minute. But, at last week's performance, he sat for 15 minutes," said a father. Another parent Shoba Kannan said, "It de-stresses and over a period of time, it transforms the inner soul."