University of Cambridge > > ARClub Talks > Autism-CHIME: Can music therapy support autistic children’s communication skills or anxiety?

Autism-CHIME: Can music therapy support autistic children’s communication skills or anxiety?

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Improvisational music therapy involves the therapist and child spontaneously co-creating music together, using singing, playing and movement. Music therapists and parents report positive outcomes and advocate for the inclusion of music therapy as a standard support for autistic children. However a recent meta-analysis of the effectiveness of music therapy was inconclusive for a number of outcomes (Geretsegger et al., 2022), so it is not yet clear if music therapy is effective. To address the shortcoming of previous studies, this talk introduces a large longitudinal randomised controlled trial of improvisational music therapy for autistic children aged 7 – 11 (The Autism-CHIME study) taking place in school settings. This study uses an outcome measure (BOSCC) for social communication that is sensitive to change over time, which will help to clarify previous findings. Uniquely the Autism-CHIME study will also examine the impact of music therapy on autistic children’s anxiety, wellbeing, to identify if music therapy could be used to support emotion regulation, which is often a primary concern for families. Additionally this study will account for a number of individual characteristics [IQ, Musicality, Cognitive Style], to investigate if the heterogeneity observed in music therapy effectiveness is related to individual characteristics.

This talk is part of the ARClub Talks series.

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