Using music to motivate movement in children aged 4-6 years with autism spectrum disorder
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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an umbrella term used to describe a group of disorders of brain development usually diagnosed in early childhood. Children with ASD experience difficulties in social skills, communication and repetitive or restricted behaviors. Additionally, they often have delays and difficulties with movement skills. Improving movement skills in early childhood may have an impact on the core characteristic of ASD. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a 6-week music and movement intervention on the movement, social and adaptive skills of children aged 4-6 with ASD. Nine children aged 4-6 with ASD participated in the study, they were randomly divided into either a music and movement intervention (n=6) or movement intervention without music (n=3), the children participated in the interventions for 2, 45 minute sessions per week. The music group experienced significant improvements in BOT-2 body coordination (p=0.01), BOT-2 total raw scores (p=0.04) and a significant reduction in maladaptive behaviors (p=0.04) (Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales). The movement group demonstrated significant improvements in social skills (p=0.02) and daily living skills (0.03). The results support the use of music during movement interventions to increase body coordination and reduce maladaptive behaviors.