Presentation on theme: "Program Evaluation of Music Therapy: Social Joint Attention Behaviors In Preschool-Aged Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders Karen L. Herzel, Brenda."— Presentation transcript:
Program Evaluation of Music Therapy: Social Joint Attention Behaviors In Preschool-Aged Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders Karen L. Herzel, Brenda Cichon, Jordan Spencer, & Karla Doepke, Ph.D. Illinois State University Results Results are presented as the mean data for the four participants. The upper graph indicates responses to bids for joint attention. The lower graph depicts initiation of joint attention Background Hallmark characteristics of autism spectrum disorders include difficulties with social functioning, communication, and restricted patterns of behavior or interests (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Because these deficits limit social and educational development, researchers have attempted to delineate the basis of these difficulties and design intervention strategies to improve skills. One promising line of research suggests that difficulties with language and socialization may be related to more basic problems in pivotal skill areas (Lord et al., 2005). Pivotal skills are defined such that improvements in one pivotal skill area results in collateral improvements in related behaviors. One such pivotal skill, joint attention, or the ability to coordinate attention with another person for the purpose of sharing an experience, is considered a developmental milestone for functional communication and socialization (Koegel, Openden, Freedeen, & Koegel, 2006). Joint attention is often absent in children with autism spectrum disorders. Support exists for effectiveness of early interventions targeting joint attention behaviors (National Autism Center (NAC), 2009). Music therapy, defined as an emerging treatment for individuals with ASD (NAC, 2009) is one potential avenue for developing a structured intervention focused on improvements in joint attention behaviors (Kim, Wigram, & Gold, 2008). Using a multiple-baseline design across behaviors, this study seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of music therapy interventions targeting the pivotal behaviors of joint attention and other forms of joint engagement displayed in preschool aged children diagnosed with autism. Implications of these results for intervention with young children with autism will be discussed. Discussion Method Participants Participants were enrolled in a comprehensive early childhood intervention group program serving nine children diagnosed with ASD. Four children were randomly chosen from among the total group for inclusion in the study. ParticipantAge (y:m)Diagnosis Participant 14:3Autism Participant 24:11Autism Participant 34:3ASD Participant 43:3ASD_ Design A multiple baseline design across three behaviors (responses to bids for joint attention, initiation of bids for joint attention, imitation) was utilized. Procedure Baseline established with general music sessions Music therapy intervention implemented in group setting Intervention phases targeted specific behaviors of : response to bid for joint attention initiation of bid for joint attention imitation (not yet implemented) Results of this investigation indicate that structured music therapy can result in improvements in joint attention behaviors of young children with ASD. This study suggests that a music therapy group intervention, using music to target joint attention behaviors, may be effective as a part of a comprehensive program. Whether these improvements in joint attention behaviors generalize to other settings is not yet known, but should be a focus of future investigations. Future research could also address the relative treatment- and cost-effectiveness of group vs. individual music therapy interventions.