Date of Award

5-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Music Therapy

Department

Music Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. Amanda MacRae

Abstract

This study examined the connections in relationships among autistic and neurotypical adolescents in a virtual, inclusive, performative music therapy group. The researcher utilized a one-group pretest-posttest design. There is a lack of research involving inclusive music therapy groups with adolescents. As such, this research was needed in order to provide opportunities for adolescents to connect in an inclusive music therapy group, aligning with the neurodiversity movement in uplifting autistic voices rather than focusing on improving perceived deficits of autism. Four participants engaged in four inclusive, performative music therapy sessions through active music-making and sharing music preferences. They each completed a pretest and posttest to measure if there were any changes in their connections with each other utilizing the Index of Peer Relations (IPR, Hudson et al., 1990, 1993), a self-reported measure, and a researchercreated measure to collect data. Data were analyzed through descriptive statistics, paired-sample t tests, and thematic analysis. Results indicated a slight increase in connectedness with the whole group, and with three of the four participants, though the differences were not significant. Other individual and group results varied in the direction of change and amount. Results revealed that all participants felt more connected in some areas and that that there were changes in how connected they felt and the depth of their connections. An inclusive, performative music therapy group has the potential to create connections among adolescents and providing more opportunities for inclusive experiences may help to further the field of music therapy in a neurodiversity-affirming and strengths-based direction.

Related Pillar(s)

Study

Included in

Music Therapy Commons

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