Music Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
McCutchen, Jennifer M.
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Children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are communicatively impaired, with particular difficulties with pragmatics, the component of language that involves the social understanding of what to say and what not to say in varying situations. There is a long-standing link between music and speech, and speech-related goals are prominent in music therapy for autistic children. The present study is a proposal of an experiment to determine if there is a difference in the efficacy of spee~h-language pathology, music therapy with language goals, and collaboration between the two fields. Participants included 80 children between the ages of 3 and 5 who had been previously diagnosed with ASD. The participants were randomly distributed to one of 4 conditions: a speech training condition, a music training condition, a collaborative training condition, and a no training condition. The author hypothesizes that the participants in the collaborative training condition will show the highest increase in speech production. It is also hypothesized that the music condition and the speech condition will show an increase in speech production, but that there will not be a significant difference between the two.