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Musical perspectives on the interaction plateau: Implications for research Dr Katrina McFerran & Grace Thompson Registered Music Therapists.

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Presentation on theme: "Musical perspectives on the interaction plateau: Implications for research Dr Katrina McFerran & Grace Thompson Registered Music Therapists."— Presentation transcript:

1 Musical perspectives on the interaction plateau: Implications for research Dr Katrina McFerran & Grace Thompson Registered Music Therapists

2 The Context: Music therapy in Special Ed No child left behind (U.S.A.) –Observable benefits, behaviours and skills –Congruent with traditional practice in education – behavioural practice and research Every child matters (U.K.) –Emphasis on positive wellbeing, health and safety, economic wellbeing and making a positive contribution –Counter movement in pedagogical theory

3 Three studies Communication Study McFerran, K. & Stephenson, J. (2007). Music therapy in special education: Do we need more evidence? British Journal of Music Therapy, 20 (2), 121 – 128. McFerran, K. & Stephenson, J. (2010). Music therapy and evidence based practice in special education, In V. Karkou (Ed.), Arts therapies in Special Education, pp London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Engagement Study Thompson, G. (ongoing). Music therapy and children with autism: the effect of family centred music therapy on the social communication skills of young children with autism. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Melbourne, Melbourne. Lee, J. (2009). The power of song choices in music therapy for the communication skills of adults with profound multiple disabilities. Research Masters, The University of Melbourne, Australia Good quality (Firth, 2011) Study McFerran, K., & Shanahan, E. (in-press). Music Therapy Practice in Special Education and Childrens Hospice: A Systematic Comparison of Two Music Therapists Strategies with Three Pre- Adolescent Boys Music Therapy Perspectives. Kim, J., Wigram, T., & Gold, C. (2008). The effects of improvisational music therapy on joint attention behaviors in Autistic children: A randomized controlled study. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(9), Kerem, D. (2009). The effect of music therapy on spontaneous communicative interactions of young children with cochlear implants. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Aalborg University, Denmark.

4 Communication Study: Lets try getting reductionist! There is no data point for session 2 (no music) because the student slept through most of this session. The switch was not available in Session 2 (no music), Session 6 (music) and Session 11 (no music). Some switch events were multiple activations in close proximity that our coders could not separate as separate events. PLATEAU?

5 Engagement Study Embraced idiosyncratic communication –Inventory of potentially communicative acts (Sigafoos, Arthur-Kelly & Butterfield, 2006) –Outcomes of Lee (2009) Careful selection of congruent sample –No prior music therapy (Trying to get social inclusion and developmental trajectories - oh dear! Perhaps avoiding the plateau) Continued importance of honouring the individual case study –Acknowledging that means and averages reduce clarity of interpretation

6 Jayden Cerebral Palsy Had just turned 15 years old Life-long fascination with balloons and other visual stimuli Narrow range of interests (balloons, balls, DVDs, the hoist, parallel lines, disco ball)

7 Control Condition – The Green Balloon

8 Music Therapy Condition

9 Collecting the evidence: What do different designs offer? Randomised Control Trial (RCT) –People are randomly assigned to either a treatment or a control group. –The two groups of participants will be comparable. –The only difference is whether they had the treatment or the control. –Typically suited to large sample sizes Repeated measures (within subjects) –Each participant acts as their own control. –Baseline data collected or a waiting period with pre and post testing –An attractive design because of the challenges in establishing comparable groups –Small sample sizes can be accommodated in statistical analyses. –Consider whether there is an order effect. Case Study Design

10 Learnings so far Importance of separating opportunities that are –spontaneous & child initiated –prompted & formal The value of meaningful engagement –Communicative Musicality

11 An integral meta-theory (Ken Wilber, 2006) Phenomenology Musical Analysis Experimental Design (within subject) Heuristics Systems Theory Applied Behavioural Analysis INDIVIDUALINDIVIDUAL INTERIOREXTERIOR Hermeneutics Ethnography COLLECTIVECOLLECTIVE

12 Good Quality Relationship Study The surprising fact, C, is observed; But if A were true, C would be a matter of course, Hence, there is reason to suspect that A is true. (Peirce 1955:151, in Svennevig) In this case, the surprising fact is that music therapists working with young people who have profound developmental delay do not focus on the development of communication and social skills in sessions. But if this is because they spend more time focusing on the process of fostering the development of the interpersonal relationship between themselves and the young person, then their lack of focus of observable outcomes that signal skill acquisition is a matter of course. Hence, there is reason to suspect that music therapists do focus on fostering the relationship between themselves and young people with profound developmental delay as an unspoken priority.

13 The three wise monkeys deaf to some of the childs initiating behaviours that we perceived as critical, blind to the responsive way the music therapist was emulating the young mans contributions, dumb to the maximising of potential and pleasure that was an ongoing in the session.

14 © Copyright The University of Melbourne 2008


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