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ERIC Number: EJ1097001
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0965-0792
The Impact of Fostering Relationships through Music within a Special School Classroom for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Action Research Study
McFerran, Katrina Skewes; Thompson, Grace; Bolger, Lucy
Educational Action Research, v24 n2 p241-259 2016
Music therapists have been working in special education contexts for many decades, utilising research and case studies to inform practice. Growing interest in the link between the creative arts and well-being has led music therapists to consider what aspects of their knowledge others could feasibly appropriate in the school system. An action research approach was utilised to explore this question, grounded in partnerships between university-based music therapy researchers and staff at a school for learners on the autistic spectrum. Five cycles of planning, action, observation and reflection framed the collaborative partnership, with a music therapist acting as consultant to explore how music could be used across the school day. The greatest shift evidenced through qualitative and quantitative analysis was in the area of relationship building. Rather than seeing music as a tool that supports the acquisition of specific skills, the professionals and students in the school came to understand that music could be a meaningful part of their encounter with one another. This is congruent with music therapy research findings that also emphasise the ways music can be used to motivate, evoke and elicit meaningful responses from young people. Some limitations were identified in the sustainability of music practices in the school, particularly when other parts of the school culture were changing.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A