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Exceptional Children Research: Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Music Therapy

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Music Therapy


Hooper, J., Wigram, T., Carson, D. & Lindsay, B. (2008).

Article Number: IDD1
Author: Hooper, Jeff; Wigram, Tony; Carson, Derek; Lindsay, Bill
Title: A Review of the Music and Intellectual Disability Literature (1943-2006) Part Two - Experimental Writing
Reference: Music Therapy Perspectives 26:2 (2008) p.80-96
Abstract: This paper begins by looking at musical aptitude. It identifies research that compared the musical aptitude of people with and without an intellectual disability, and investigations that assessed the musical aptitude of diagnostic subgroups from within the intellectual disability population (Down syndrome, musical savants, autistic spectrum disorder, Williams syndrome). This paper then goes on to consider research that examined how individuals with an intellectual disability responded to active (improvisation, and Music Activity Therapy) and receptive (contingent, contingent-interrupted, and non-contingent music) interventions. The studies are ordered according to therapeutic outcome, and the article describes their methods and considers various issues that arose. The conclusion summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of the experimental writing and identifies agendas for music therapy research with this population. It argues that the experimental research should not be considered in isolation. Instead, it suggests that along with the descriptive writing (discussed in part one of the review), the experimental writing is part of a body of work that captures both the richness of clinical experiences and the cause-effect relationships underlying those experiences. [Adapted from publication abstract]
Document type: Literature Review
Special Features: References
Broad subject: Music and Other Disciplines
Topics: Disabilities; Music Therapy; Research; Literature Reviews; Autism; Aptitudes; Research; Experiments; 1940s; 1950s; 1960s; 1970s; 1980s; 1990s; 2000s
Publisher: American Music Therapy Association
ISSN: 0734-6875
ProQuest Document ID: 1371512
Full Text URL:
Last updated: 2010-09-24
Database: International Index to Music Periodicals Full Text

Gross W., Linden U., & Ostermann, T. (2010)

Article Number:IDD2
Author:Gross, Wibke; Linden, Ulrike; Ostermann, Thomas
Title: Effects of music therapy in the treatment of children with delayed speech development - results of a pilot study.
Reference: BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 10.(July 21, 2010): p39.
Abstract:Background Language development is one of the most significant processes of early childhood development. Children with delayed speech development are more at risk of acquiring other cognitive, social-emotional, and school-related problems. Music therapy appears to facilitate speech development in children, even within a short period of time. The aim of this pilot study is to explore the effects of music therapy in children with delayed speech development. Methods A total of 18 children aged 3.5 to 6 years with delayed speech development took part in this observational study in which music therapy and no treatment were compared to demonstrate effectiveness. Individual music therapy was provided on an outpatient basis. An ABAB reversal design with alternations between music therapy and no treatment with an interval of approximately eight weeks between the blocks was chosen. Before and after each study period, a speech development test, a non-verbal intelligence test for children, and music therapy assessment scales were used to evaluate the speech development of the children. Results Compared to the baseline, we found a positive development in the study group after receiving music therapy. Both phonological capacity and the children's understanding of speech increased under treatment, as well as their cognitive structures, action patterns, and level of intelligence. Throughout the study period, developmental age converged with their biological age. Ratings according to the Nordoff-Robbins scales showed clinically significant changes in the children, namely in the areas of client-therapist relationship and communication. Conclusions This study suggests that music therapy may have a measurable effect on the speech development of children through the treatment's interactions with fundamental aspects of speech development, including the ability to form and maintain relationships and prosodic abilities. Thus, music therapy may provide a basic and supportive therapy for children with delayed speech development.
Document type: Report
Topics: Music Therapy; Health Aspects; Pediatric Diseases; Speech Disorders
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
ISSN: 1472-6882
Durable URL:
Database: BioMed Central


Farnan, L. A., (2007)

Article Number: IDD3
Title: Music Therapy and Developmental Disabilities: A Glance Back and a Look Forward
Authors: Farnan, Laurie A
Reference: Music Therapy Perspectives 25.2 (2007): 80,80-85.
Abstract: Past, current, and future trends in music therapy used to serve prople who have developmentally disabling conditions are discussed. Music therapy interventions include: (1) sensory stimulation and processing, (2) early intervention, (3) instrument play and other manipulation, (4) computer music, (5) proactive/prosocial cooperation and interaction, (6) music therapy in cardinal school, (7) music therapy with adults, and (8) music therapy assessment. By carefully designing and implementing specific protocols for team targeted areas, music therapists can contribute to the overall development of an individual.
Narrow Subjects': Trends, Medical Disorders, Disabilities, Music Therapy
Identifiers Keywords: Music and Other Disciplines, Trends, Medical Disorders, Disabilities, Music Therapy
Publisher: American Music Therapy Association
ISSN: 0734-6875
ProQuest Document ID: 1371869
Document URL:
Last updated: 2010-09-24
Database: International Index to Music Periodicals Full Text

DeBedout, Jennifer K. & Worden, Melissa C. (2006).

Article Number: IDD4
Title: Motivators for Children with Severe Intellectual Disabilities in the Self-Contained Classroom: A Movement Analysis Author: DeBedout, Jennifer K; Worden, Melissa C
Reference: Journal of Music Therapy 43.2 (Summer 2006): 123-135.
Abstract: The impact of the presence of a music therapist versus the use of switch-activated toys and recorded music in evoking physiological, affective, and vocal responses in Severely Intellectually Disabled school children was analyzed, and the results are presented. The study of movement responses attempted to determine how students might respond to a music therapist's interaction. Seventeen children participated in five videotaped sessions in which the motivators were a switch-activated pig toy, switch-activated recorded music, a music therapist playing with and singing to the child when the child touched a guitar, and a music therapist playing and singing to the child continually. Positive responses were measured by limb and head movements, vocal sound, and facial expression change, as well as the use of the Kruskal-Wallis test.
Narrow subject: Children, Music Therapy, Case studies, Child development, Medical Disorders, Music Therapists, Interactions
Broad subject: Music and Other Disciplines
Publisher: American Music Therapy Association
ISSN: 0022-2917
ProQuest document ID: 1093306
Document URL:
Last updated: 2013-07-10
Database: International Index to Music Periodicals Full Text