Janet Preis, EdD, CCC-SLP, Roxanne Amon, MS, CCC-SLP, Dara Silbert Robinette, MS, CCC-SLP, Ashley Rozegar, MS; Does Music Matter? The Effects of Background Music on Verbal
Expression and Engagement in Children with Autism Spectrum
Disorders. Music Ther Perspect 2016; 34 (1): 106-115. doi: 10.1093/mtp/miu044
Recent research has found that for young children with ASD, music is an effective
treatment for addressing the core deficits of the disorder as well as a familiar
medium implemented in many classrooms. However, little is known if “just” the
presentation of music can promote social communication and improve behavior,
therefore, this preliminary study investigated the following research questions:
(a) Does the presentation of background music during structured play increase
the number of utterances and increase engagement in young children with Autism
Spectrum Disorder (ASD); and (b) Does the type of music affect these results?
Results of the 28-week, alternating treatments design study consistently found
that background music had no effect on either spontaneous verbal expression or
engagement in the five young participants with autism. In addition, the type of
music played, classical, children’s songs, or reggae, did not affect these
outcome measures. Implications of the findings are discussed.