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Attunement in Music Therapy for Young Children with Autism: Revisiting Qualities of Relationship as Mechanisms of Change

Authors
  • Mössler, Karin1
  • Schmid, Wolfgang1, 2
  • Aßmus, Jörg1
  • Fusar-Poli, Laura3
  • Gold, Christian1
  • 1 GAMUT – The Grieg Academy Music Therapy Research Centre, NORCE Norwegian Research Center, Nygårdstangen, Postbox 22, 5838 Bergen, Norway
  • 2 University of Bergen,
  • 3 University of Catania,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Mar 18, 2020
Volume
50
Issue
11
Pages
3921–3934
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10803-020-04448-w
PMID: 32189227
PMCID: PMC7560932
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

This study examined whether musical and emotional attunement predicts changes in improvisational music therapy with children with autism (4–7 years, N = 101, majority: no/limited speech, low IQ), assessed over 12 months. Attunement, as observed from session videos, and changes in generalized social skills, judged by blinded assessors and parents, were evaluated using standardized tools (Assessment of the Quality of Relationship, Improvisational Music Therapy Principles, ADOS, SRS). In contrast to the smaller pilot, we did not find significant effects between attunement and changes in outcomes, only tendencies in the same direction are observed. Findings suggest that symptom severity is associated with the therapist’s ability to attune to the child. They further raise questions concerning outcome selection and user involvement. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1007/s10803-020-04448-w) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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