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Title: Introducing music therapy techniques into early years special needs education for young children with autism in China
Author: Hao, Li
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2018
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This research thesis explores the introduction of a musical intervention (Developing Communication Through Music, DCTM) for young children with autism in China. The intervention was designed to combine techniques from both music therapy and Intensive Interaction in order to support the development of children whose social communication and social abilities are impaired. There is evidence about the effectiveness of both these techniques in the UK and other countries, but no such evidence in China. This research therefore represents the first systematic exploration of an intervention combining music therapy with Intensive Interaction in the cultural context of China, where these techniques are rare and where teacher training for autism is under-developed. Using the established principles of action research this study aimed to explore how DCTM musical intervention could be implemented within the current educational system in one community centre. The action focused on the introduction of DCTM in two cycles, first with the DCTM implemented by the researcher (a music therapist) and the second implemented by local staff. The goal was to improve understanding of how music can be used to help young children with autism in tandem with brining about beneficial change for young children and the adults communicating with and teaching them. There were multiple methods used when collecting data, the most important of which included video recordings, field notes and reflective journals regarding key children, which were all systematically analysed in relationship to the learning for the children and staff. Video recording and informal discussion were the main methods based on the merging principles of Nordoff- Robbins and Intensive Interaction. The young children with autism responded differently to the methods and approach of DCTM in this project. In particular, the children responded better in cycle 1 than in cycle 2. Upbeat music had a particularly positive impact in terms of social communication and sharing attention. The researcher and local staff faced considerable challenges when incorporating the new techniques into their daily teaching. The findings indicate that participating teachers need more help to develop musical and intervention skills and make the necessary micro-adjustments needed to engage and hold the children's interest. Additionally, teacher training would need to incorporate relevant DCTM competencies. If this can be achieved, then more children with autism, or children with similar difficulties, could benefit from DCTM. The action research process, findings, and supporting data, suggest that the local educators may be positively influenced by this innovative method.
Supervisor: Nind, Melanie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available