The Effects of Improvisational Music Therapy on Joint Attention Behaviours in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

  • Jinah Kim

Abstract

This research investigated the effects of improvisational music therapy on joint attention behaviours in children with autistic spectrum disorder. The study was designed to look at these behaviours in two different conditions, improvisational music therapy and free play, and use both standardized tools and DVD analysis of sessions to evaluate changes in joint attention behaviours.
A repeated measures, within subject comparison design was used and children were randomly assigned in to two groups; group 1 had music therapy first, and then free play later. Group 2 vice versa. Sessions were divided into unstructured and structured parts. There were four different types of dependent measurements; the Pervasive Developmental Disorder Behavior Inventory (PDDBI), the Early Social Communication Scales (ESCS), the Mother Play Intervention Profile (MPIP) and DVD analyses of selected session data. 10 children, all male, age between 3-6 year old, with clear diagnoses of autistic spectrum disorder completed the trial.
The overall results from the PDDBI, the ESCS and session analysis were generally in favour of music therapy over free play, indicating improvisational music therapy was more effective at improving joint attention behaviours in children than free play. The most clinically relevant and important findings were that children displayed markedly more and longer events of ‘eye contact’ ‘joy’ ‘emotional synchronicity’ and ‘initiation of engagement’ spontaneously in improvisational music therapy than free play, and also in unstructured part than structured part. The findings highlighted the ‘motivational aspects’ of musical interaction between the child and the therapist, and supported the long-lived claims of improvisational music therapy, promoting self-expression’, emotional communication and social interaction.
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This research investigated the effects of improvisational music therapy on joint attention behaviours in children with autistic spectrum disorder. The study was designed to look at these behaviours in two different conditions, improvisational music therapy and free play, and use both standardized tools and DVD analysis of sessions to evaluate changes in joint attention behaviours.
A repeated measures, within subject comparison design was used and children were randomly assigned in to two groups; group 1 had music therapy first, and then free play later. Group 2 vice versa. Sessions were divided into unstructured and structured parts. There were four different types of dependent measurements; the Pervasive Developmental Disorder Behavior Inventory (PDDBI), the Early Social Communication Scales (ESCS), the Mother Play Intervention Profile (MPIP) and DVD analyses of selected session data. 10 children, all male, age between 3-6 year old, with clear diagnoses of autistic spectrum disorder completed the trial.
The overall results from the PDDBI, the ESCS and session analysis were generally in favour of music therapy over free play, indicating improvisational music therapy was more effective at improving joint attention behaviours in children than free play. The most clinically relevant and important findings were that children displayed markedly more and longer events of ‘eye contact’ ‘joy’ ‘emotional synchronicity’ and ‘initiation of engagement’ spontaneously in improvisational music therapy than free play, and also in unstructured part than structured part. The findings highlighted the ‘motivational aspects’ of musical interaction between the child and the therapist, and supported the long-lived claims of improvisational music therapy, promoting self-expression’, emotional communication and social interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages342
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch

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