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J Music Ther. 2002 Summer;39(2):117-44.

Musically adapted social stories to modify behaviors in students with autism: four case studies.

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University of Kansas, USA.


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of a musical presentation of social story information on the behaviors of students with autism. Social stories are a means of incorporating an individual with autism's propensity toward visual learning with educationally necessary behavior modifications. Participants in the study were four first- and second-grade students with a primary diagnosis of autism attending an elementary school in eastern Iowa. A unique social story was created for each student that addressed a current behavioral goal. Subsequently, original music was composed using the text of the social story as lyrics. The independent variable for this study was one of three treatment conditions: baseline (A); reading the story (B); and singing the story (C). The reading and singing versions of the social stories were alternately presented to the students using the counterbalanced treatment order ABAC/ACAB. The dependent variable was the frequency with which the target behavior occurred under each condition of the independent variable. Data were collected for a period of 1 hour following presentation of the social story. Results from all four cases indicated that both the reading condition (B) and the singing condition (C) were significantly (p <.05) more effective in reducing the target behavior than the no-contact control condition (A). The singing condition was significantly more effective than the reading condition only in Case Study III. For the remaining case studies, the mean frequency of the target behavior was smaller during the singing condition, but not significantly so. These results suggested that the use of a musically adapted version of social stories is an effective and viable treatment option for modifying behaviors with this population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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