Musical and emotional attunement i music therapy on children having autismspectrumdisorder

  • Holck, Ulla (PI)
  • Geretsegger, Monika (Project Participant)
  • Thompson, Grace (Project Participant)
  • Kim, Jinah (Project Participant)
  • Carpente, John (Project Participant)
  • Gattino, Gustavo (Project Participant)

Project Details


This project intends to investigate closely the musical and emotional attunement described in Geretsegger, Holck et al. (2015).

IMT can be seen as part of the group of Developmental Social-Pragmatic In¬terventions for children with ASD (Ingersoll, Dvortcsak, Whalen, & Sikora, 2005) sharing characteristics such as “following the child’s lead, encouraging initiations from the child, responding to all types of communicative behavior as if it was purposeful, focusing on emotional expression, and adjusting any language and social input to the child’s developmental stage and attentional focus” (Geretsegger et al., 2015, pp260). Compared with other interventions, the very unique core of music and music therapy is the time and expression aspect – and with that the possible walking along within a musical frame (Holck, 2015) and the dynamic changes and vitality forms unfolded in time (Stern, 2010). Therefore an investigation in the ‘Musical and emotional attunement’ in video excerpts can possible give some more clear ideas of the unique and essential principles of IMT compared with other interventions for children with ASD.

Selected sequences from 3-minute excerpts already scored for fidelity (Geretsegger, Holck, Bieleninik & Gold, 2016) will be analyzed for: (1) music therapy techniques that are used to ensure a continued interaction with the child, (2) aspects of timing in the interactions, (3) joint vitality forms and emotional expressions (e.g. joint attention). Only sequences where both the child and the music therapist are visible will be chosen. Only sequences containing music therapy techniques will be analyzed to ensure the focus on the unique principles of IMT.The overall focus is attunement and matching techniques and how they unfold in different ways, including regulation or ‘purposeful mis-attunement’ (Stern, 1985) where the therapist slightly changes the dynamic in order to regulate the arousal, attention or the mood of the child. Vitality forms are chosen beside emotions since ‘shared emotions’ other that joy can be difficult to label (interpret) in observation of ASD children.

In outset of the project is purely qualitative-descriptive, but the analyses might generate some patterns across the cases (Holck, 2007) and therefore hypotheses that can later be investigated from a more quantitative-descriptive approach.

Layman's description

Denne forskning sigter på at beskrive afstemningstyper i musikterapi med førskolebørn med en autismespektrumforstyrrelse. Ialt 25 videooptagelser af børn fra henh. Australien, Sydkorea, USA og Østrig analyseres i dybden for at få beskrevet mønstre i måden hvorpå musikterapeuter opnår, fastholder og udvikler social kontakt vha. musikalske tilgange.
Effective start/end date01/07/201701/01/2022

Collaborative partners

  • Uni Research Health, GAMUT, Uni Research AS


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