Working Elements of Music Therapy for Children and Young People with Autism

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DOI: 10.4236/ojmp.2019.84008    1,422 Downloads   4,158 Views  Citations


Music therapy is used in the treatment of children and young people with autism. Several studies show that it has positive effects, especially in the areas of social behavior and communication. However, there has been no research into which elements are responsible for these effects. This study explores which elements facilitate a change in social behavior. To research this, a combination of the Grounded Theory and the Stimulated Recall Method was used. Therapies with 14 clients were analyzed and the music therapists were interviewed using the Stimulated Recall Method. After the data analysis, five element categories were presented that stimulated a change in social behavior in children and adolescents with autism: Format, Communication, Musical Elements, Connecting and Challenging. Those categories were then incorporated into a first working model, which demonstrates how changes in the social behavior of children and young people with autism occur during the music therapy process. The therapist’s continuous adaptation to the client proves to be an important element of this process.

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Pater, M. , Graaf, P. and Yperen, T. (2019) Working Elements of Music Therapy for Children and Young People with Autism. Open Journal of Medical Psychology, 8, 78-96. doi: 10.4236/ojmp.2019.84008.

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