Musical Therapy: Article Synthesis

Topic: Psychological Principles
Words: 1120 Pages: 4


Music interaction therapy is an interactive play-based method of therapy for children with autism that mimics the interactions between parents and newborns that contribute to language development in a normal kid. It is performed with increasingly advanced expectations for cognitive and self-help abilities, as well as age-appropriate standards in other developmental areas, such as motor skills, and focuses on the developmental stage the child has achieved (Wimpory & Gwilym, 2019). Children with autism have great difficulty learning social interaction in the early years (Wimpory & Gwilym, 1999). Musical engagement encourages the interaction of an adult with a kid with an autism spectrum disorder while also helping him acquire some of the basic social abilities. An adult can respond to a child’s instinctive gestures by repeating them and, with the assistance of musical accompaniment, suggesting alternative games.

Don C. Wimpory and Susan Nash’s article “Music Interaction Therapy – Therapeutic Play for Children with Autism” takes a theoretical and case-study approach to the subject (1999). The authors’ hypothesis that social, linguistic, and cognitive abilities are founded on shared attention and the development of active social engagement is the theoretical foundation for this strategy. The authors use a case study to explore the idea that children with autism hardly ever engage in spontaneous verbal expressions on their own (Wimpory & Nash, 1999). Heather’s case, one of the study’s main participants, illustrates that music interaction therapy promotes collaborative forms that transcend beyond treatment and may aid social growth. Ultimately, the authors point out that the use of this approach entails the social needs of the individuals involved (Wimpory & Nash, 1999). Because of the limits of the actual world, there is always an opportunity for development in terms of how music interaction therapy is employed and how it helps child transformation (Wimpory & Nash, 1999). Interactive patterns are so innately helpful that they become self-sustaining outside of sessions when music interaction therapy has been effectively applied.

Assessment of the Researchers’ Findings

There were, however, flaws in the study’s design as well as the overall assessment of the situation. The musical engagement has a largely theoretical influence, with few genuine, evidence-based outcomes and effects. The authors have not established the high validity that music treatment can affect joint attention abilities in children with autism. To begin with, the research approached a limited sample size (just one case study) throughout the investigation, which made intra-group comparisons and in-depth analysis almost difficult. People with autism spectrum disorders may have variable levels of linguistic competence as well as varying degrees of severity (Wimpory & Nash, 1999). These comparisons could have been feasible if the research had a bigger sample size. Furthermore, because of this, the majority of research participants were recruited from a single place, potentially resulting in selection bias. To adjust for this prejudice, other recruiting sample populations might be employed.

Methodological vulnerabilities might also potentially be a significant flaw in the authors’ research. With initial input data utilized to anticipate development tendencies, Heather functioned as her own control. There was no systematic or methodical approach, despite the fact that there were structured and scheduled treatment sessions. Patient’s mother’s comments and later analysis of the encrypted tapes formed the bulk of the evidence (Wimpory & Nash, 1999). Overall, the article presented inadequate information supplied to replicate the intervention, making cross-study comparisons problematic.

Another daunting constraint in the study was the outcome rates. Joint attention is difficult to define since it encompasses a variety of activities such as eye contact, initiating, and reacting to other people’s attention. Joint attention has been measured using a number of outcome measures as a result of this wide definition, making cross-sectional research difficult to compare. Authors essentially did not see agreement on which of these metrics best represented the design. This might explain why, despite its evident relevance, there are so few case studies and reviews on the issue.

Generalization Issue

One of the debates surrounding case study projects is a generalization and the extent to which data may be used to describe events or situations that are outside the scope of the research. Any social phenomenon or illness is well understood, happens in a specific context, and is most likely the outcome of a number of causal processes. The authors’ investigation was confined to only one case study, which had a significant impact on the findings. As a result, it can be described as an extreme generalization in this circumstance. Because music therapy was already mostly theoretical, it is difficult to find cross-sectional case studies. The autism spectrum disorder, on the other hand, is a very varied occurrence. It is based on the child’s and parents’ backgrounds, as well as societal circumstances, parental genetics, and a variety of other variables (Wimpory & Nash, 1999). As a result, the case study offered is unlikely to be useful in future investigations, particularly those involving diverse cultures.

General Societal Repercussions

Autism research is vital at any stage for those who have autism spectrum disorder, as well as those whose symptoms may be avoided. Autism spectrum disorder research is also crucial for understanding the larger category of neurodevelopmental diseases. There are likely to be some connections in the genesis and management of these problems since childhood impairment is increasingly sliding into the area of behavioral and neurological diseases (Wimpory & Nash, 1999). Autism research is needed not just to find and test possible therapies for autism, but it is also likely to be useful in understanding fundamental developmental processes, making it applicable to a wide range of other hereditary and non-genetic neurodevelopmental problems.

For kids affected by autism disorder, music can offer a nonverbal framework for interaction. Clinicians can include music into their practice in a methodical way and publish their results to add to the literature’s knowledge base. Clinicians should not, however, depend solely on music therapy for joint attentional intervention. The therapeutic significance of this single-subject trial was compelling since it examined joint attention after music treatment had stopped. Longitudinal studies might be used in a future study to statistically track the preservation of joint attention abilities across time. The study did not show any conclusive evidence that interacting with music can influence social attention skills. The results’ validity was affected primarily by deficiencies in the sampling of participants, methodology, and outcome measures. The study’s societal consequences, on the other hand, might be interpreted positively. It is critical to take new strategies to treat children with autism spectrum disorders. Even though most of the theoretical technique is derived from previous information, the study contributes to the current literature on the issue. Overall, this article reflected the theoretical side of the issue well but ultimately failed to present a thorough, evidence-based case study.


Wimpory, D. C., & Nash, S. (1999). Musical interaction therapy-therapeutic play for children with autism. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 15(1), 17-28.

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