Capstone/Dissertation Title

The effects of improvisational music therapy techniques on nonverbal social communication behaviors in students with autism spectrum disorders

Term

2010

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAEd

Abstract

This action research addressed the effectiveness of improvisational music therapy techniques to gain attention and elicit nonverbal communication behaviors in students with autism. It examined any differences in the target behaviors between two groups of students with higher and lower-level abilities to communicate. The effects of using various musical instruments was also analyzed. A review of current literature relating to music and the brain, autism and social communication behaviors, as well as improvisational music therapy was described. Subjects consisted of thirteen students with autism receiving group music therapy. Baseline data for two sessions compared to intervention data for eight sessions revealed increases in the group's average number of eye gazes, facial expressions, attempts to communicate, and levels of joint attention.

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