The effects of rhythm in group music therapy on individuals with autism spectrum disorder
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SubjectResearch Subject Categories::INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS::Children; Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION::Aesthetic subjects::Music; Music therapy for children; Autism spectrum disorders; Drumming activity; Drum -- Instruction and study
The purpose of this paper is to explore the effects of a drumming activity using structured rhythms on a group of school-aged children diagnosed in the autism spectrum from the perspective of professionals who work with them. Music therapists historically used rhythm-based activities to build rapport with clients, provide a framework for therapeutic expression and improve cognitive functioning. There have not been published experiments measuring the effects on group cohesion for individuals on the autism spectrum using drumming. The researchers developed a survey questionnaire to measure differences in behaviors related to attention and social cohesion between days using a drumming activity (d) and no drumming activity (nd). Seven participants working in an after-school program for students diagnosed with ASD were recruited to fill out the survey. Results yielded no distinct differences between (d) and (nd) although there was a positive total of .1 with peer-to-peer interaction and .04173 with peer-to-adult interactions in favor of drumming in the category of social attention. Limits of the study included too few trials and inconsistencies with the participants’ attendance. Anecdotal observation suggests the drumming activity provided useful distraction for the students to environmental issues. Recommendations for future studies are discussed.
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