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Child Care Health Dev. 2014 Nov;40(6):840-52. doi: 10.1111/cch.12121. Epub 2013 Nov 22.

Family-centred music therapy to promote social engagement in young children with severe autism spectrum disorder: a randomized controlled study.

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1
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, The University of Melbourne, Carlton, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Limited capacity for social engagement is a core feature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), often evident early in the child's development. While these skills are difficult to train, there is some evidence that active involvement in music-making provides unique opportunities for social interaction between participants. Family-centred music therapy (FCMT) endeavours to support social engagement between child and parent within active music-making, yet the extent of benefits provided is unknown.

AIM:

This study investigated the impacts of FCMT on social engagement abilities.

METHODS:

Twenty-three children (36-60 months) with severe ASD received either 16 weeks of FCMT in addition to their early intervention programmes (n = 12), or their early intervention programme only (n = 11). Change in social engagement was measured with standardized parent-report assessments, parent interviews and clinician observation.

RESULTS:

Intention-to-treat analysis for the Vineland Social Emotional Early Childhood Scale indicated a significant effect in favour of FCMT. Thematic qualitative analysis of the parent interviews showed that the parent-child relationship grew stronger.

CONCLUSION:

FCMT improves social interactions in the home and community and the parent-child relationship, but not language skills or general social responsiveness. This study provides preliminary support for the use of FCMT to promote social engagement in children with severe ASD.

KEYWORDS:

autism spectrum disorder; family-centred service; music therapy; randomized trials; social relationships

PMID:
24261547
DOI:
10.1111/cch.12121
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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