Among children with autism spectrum disorder, improvisational music therapy resulted in no significant difference in symptom severity compared to children who received enhanced standard care alone, according to a study published by JAMA.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by persistent deficits in social communication and interaction and restricted, repetitive behaviours and interests. Music therapy seeks to exploit the potential of music as a medium for social communication. In improvisational music therapy, client and therapist spontaneously create music using singing, playing, and movement. It is a developmental, child-centered approach in which a music therapist follows the child’s focus of attention, behaviours, and interests to facilitate development in the child’s social communicative skills.
Christian Gold, Ph.D., of the Grieg Academy Music Therapy Research Centre, Bergen, Norway, and colleagues randomly assigned children ages 4 to 7 years with ASD to enhanced standard care (n = 182) or enhanced standard care plus improvisational music therapy (n = 182). Enhanced standard care consisted of usual care as locally available plus parent counselling to discuss parents’ concerns and provide information about ASD. In improvisational music therapy, trained music therapists sang or played music with each child, attuned and adapted to the child’s focus of attention. The study was conducted in nine countries.
The researchers found that over five months, the amount of improvement in both groups was small, and there was no significant difference in ASD symptom severity based on measures of social affect.
“These findings do not support the use of improvisational music therapy for symptom reduction in children with autism spectrum disorder,” the authors write.
A limitation of the trial was that the duration of the intervention and follow-up, although longer than in previous trials, may have been too short.
more recommended stories
Excess screen time impacting teen mental health
Research from The University of Queensland,.
Adolescents’ well-being and learning during COVID-19 linked to psychological needs
Multi-country analysis highlights importance of experiencing.
Nature draws out a happy place for children
New study explores children's perception of.
A gender gap in negotiation emerges between boys and girls as early as age eight
Understood to persist between men and.
Fellow students improve grades
Peers personalities can influence your own.
A window into adolescence
Researchers study biological roots for adolescent.
How students learn from their mistakes
Researchers at University of Southern.
Schooling is critical for cognitive health throughout life
Quality schooling matters cognitively for later.
To improve students’ mental health, teach them to breathe
Resiliency training programs could be a.
Jobs for the boys: How children give voice to gender-stereotyped job roles
Children, and especially boys, show stronger.