While looking through some articles in The Journal of Music Therapy, I stumbled upon one that I felt was very relevant to us at MTSP. At MTSP, we offer music therapy groups for children diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum that focus on social and communication goals. This article details a research study on how these groups impact and enhance social skills for these children by measuring eye gaze, joint attention, and communication.

Study Overview

This study by Blythe LeGasse, Ph.D., MT-BC, spanned over a 5 week period with groups meeting twice a week. The participants were children ages 6 – 9, with a diagnosis of ASD. According to the article, participants were split into two groups, a music group and a non-music group. Both groups were structured similarly and focused on social goals. Documentation was taken by parents and therapists in order to note the differences and similarities between the groups.

The Results

The results of this study show that music therapy is just as effective, if not more effective, in improving these social skill areas. Because the size of the study was limited, it is recommended that the study be reproduced on a larger scale. Although more research should be done to solidify the results, this study certainly provides evidence that music therapy groups may improve joint attention and eye gaze compared to the non-music group. Additionally, it seems that music therapy groups improved the perception of the parents, as shown in surveys given before and after the 5 week period.

At MTSP, we believe that music therapy groups are very beneficial to children diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. For more information about our groups please visit our website.

Source: LaGasse, B., PhD, MT-BC. (2014). Effects of a Music Therapy Group Intervention on Enhancing Social Skills in Children. Journal of Music Therapy, 51(3), 250-275.

For access to this article and other music therapy articles visit, The Journal of Music Therapy.