Culture and Health

A Preliminary Investigation of a Specialized Music Therapy Model for Children with Disabilities Delivered in a Classroom Setting

This pilot investigation assessed the impact of the in-class musical project Voices Together aimed at improving communication skills in children with ASD and children with intellectual disabilities. Four local public elementary school special education classrooms, serving 5 children with a classification of autistic disorder and 32 children with intellectual disability without autism, were randomly selected to receive one of two levels of exposure to Voices Together music therapy: “long term” (15 weeks) and “short term” (7 weeks). Both groups demonstrated increases in verbal responses over time; however, only the long-term group demonstrated significant within-group increases. Preliminary findings suggest that music therapy delivered in a classroom in 45-minute weekly sessions for 15 weeks can promote improvements in verbal responsiveness among individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities favouring their biopsychosocial development