Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Brian L. Wilson

Second Advisor

Dr. David S. Smith

Third Advisor

Edward A. Roth

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


A variety of music therapy approaches and techniques for working with individuals with autism spectrum disorders have evolved out of the creativity of the profession, the influence of different music therapy approaches, as well as the influences of other treatment and educational theories. This study includes a review of the music therapy literature concerning this population as well as a description of common educational programs and other treatment techniques influential in this field. The underlying question of this study is how these diverse methods are being incorporated and integrated into current music therapy practice to best meet the needs of each client.

An original survey instrument was designed in order to address this question and included the following sections: Therapist Demographics, Client/Session Description, Clinical Approach, Treatment Influences, Music Therapy Techniques, Inclusion Practices, and General Questions. This instrument was adapted into a web page, and 461 music therapists, who work with this population as specified by the American Music Therapy Association, were invited to participate in the study via the Internet. Responses were submitted by 171 music therapists. The results indicated that music therapists working with these individuals are influenced in their practice by an eclectic mixture of approaches and techniques. The prevalence of the different interventions and theoretical influences are described and interpreted.

Included in

Music Therapy Commons