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Autism and Music Therapy
Transcript of Autism and Music Therapy
Jake Awtry, Phoebe Bowe, Celeste Hamre, Annie Jaffe, Ryan Knox, Susi Neher, Courtney Sonn
An Integrative Approach
Music Therapy and Autism
Delegation of Tasks
"We seek to study how an integrated music therapy lesson in a public school consisting of autism spectrum children, their one-on-one support professionals, children who are mainstreamed, and a music therapist could benefit everyone involved."
DSM-5 diagnosis based on cognitive capacity and adaptive functioning
: one condition with different levels of symptom severity (American psychiatric Association 2013)
Autistic disorder (autism), Aspergers Disorder, Childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder (APA 2013)
social interactions, verbal communication, and imaginative thinking (McGinn 2012, 3).
There is no "one-size fits all" approach
"Autism aware" teachers (McGinn 2012, 9)
Individualized Programs (4)
Speech Therapists (4)
Classroom Aides (9)
Emerging in 1940s, the American Music Therapy Association defines music therapy as "a healthy profession that uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of patients"
Singing, creating, moving to, listening to music
No universal assessment method
Used to improve:
Social interaction Skills
Today Music Therapy accounts for:
12% of Autism Treatment
45% of Alternative Treatment strategies in schools
Case in Point:
Music therapy vs. Standard therapy in improving communication skills in ASD children
Music Therapy was more likely to improve nonverbal communication skills than standard therapy alone
Verbal communication and behavioral problems improved to a lesser extent than gestural communication skills
Jennifer Ryan, Director of Autism Support at the Charles River Center in Needham, MA
Maximum involvement in classrooms
Best candidates are ASD children already involved in the classroom
Laura Micheli, MT-BC and Kristina Barbo, MT-GC: Music therapists for Roman Music Therapy Services in Melrose, MA
Small, frequent classes
Carolyn Il Grande, Parent of child with ASD
Improvement in listening and Communication skills
Integrated music therapy with mainstream peers
high-functioning ASD students
Class size of 12 students, with four ASD
20 students with ASD treated with music therapy and 20 students with ASD not treated but monitored
Logistics and Specifics
Classes will be directly integrated into participating schools' already existent music programs
Two classes per week
Non-ASD classmates switch week to week
Parents' permission required
Run by certified music therapist
Percussion instruments (i.e. gamelans)
September to June; September to November
Paraprofessionals collect data regarding number of times ASD students:
make peer eye contact
ASD students treated with music therapy will have significantly greater improvement in social interactions than ASD students not treated with music therapy.
*Summer degeneration will prove that consistency is essential
Integrated Music therapy is a viable form of supplemental treatment for behavioral disabilities of children with ASD if employed consistently.
Benefits of our music therapy program include:
It's never been done before
Can help kids on and off the spectrum
Can give evidence for insurance companies' responsibility to cover music therapy
Research: Celeste, Jake, Ryan, Susi, Phoebe, Courtney
Interview: Celeste, Jake
Paper: Celeste, Jake, Ryan, Susi, Phoebe
Presentation: Annie, Courtney
American Psychiatric Association. "Highlights of Changes from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5." Last modified
May 18, 2013. Accessed February 1, 2014. http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/changes from dsm-iv-tr to dsm-5.pdf.
Gold C., T. Wigram, and C. Elefant. “Music therapy for autistic spectrum disorder (Review).” The
Cochrane Library. Issue 1 (2010): 1-10,
Micheli, Laura and Barbo, Kristina. Interviewed by Jake Awtry and Celeste Hamre. Boston, MA. February
McGinn, Gerry, ed. Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Guide to Classroom Practice. Belfast: Investor in
People Publishing, 2002.
Reschke-Hernandez, Alaine E. “History of Music Therapy Treatment Interventions for Children with
Autism.” Journal of Music Therapy 48.2 (Summer 2011): 169-207
Ryan, Jennifer. Interviewed by Jake Awtry and Celeste Hamre. Boston, MA. January 30, 2014.
Srinivasan, Sudha M., and Anjana N. Bhat. “A review of ‘music and movement’ therapies for children with
autism: embodied interventions for multisystem development.” Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 7:22. (April 2013)
Comparison of change in behavioral measures over time
diff. in improvement between treated and non-treated
For treated: diff. between April-June, September-November
For treated: in music therapy class vs. normal classroom