A Behavioural Study Exploring the Use of Originally Composed Songs to Encourage Children at a Japanese Day Treatment Facility to Transition between Activities

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Kumi Sato
Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan

Shigeki Sonoyama
Faculty of Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan


Keywords: Music, children, developmental disabilities, single-subject design, behavioural approaches.


This behavioural study, with single-subject research design, examined the use of originally composed songs to encourage children with developmental disabilities to put toys away during the transition from free play to a group activity. The participants were three children, aged three to five years, who had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or intellectual disability. One song was employed as a prompt to encourage the participants to initiate tidying up (Intervention I), whereas another song was a reward for completing the task (Intervention II). Observational data were analysed to examine whether there were any differences in the results between two interventions and between participants. The results indicated that all participants improved in Intervention I or II compared with baseline; however, the function of music and its effects differed among participants. The use of music and the participant responses were closely evaluated on the basis of behavioural observations and the time required for task completion. Although we recognise that behavioural frameworks are 96 less common in New Zealand music therapy, this approach and our findings are relevant to professionals who may wish to work in this way for particular purposes.

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