Developing a Sense of Belonging: A Case Study on the Use of Peer Inclusion to Support a Child with Selective Mutism

Emily Langlois Hunt
MPhD (Theology), MMusTher, BA (Theology), CT ABRSM, NZ RMTh
Te Herenga Waka – Victoria New Zealand School of Music, Te Kōkī, Victoria University of Wellington (2015-2019)
Private practice and Director at Little Musical Caravan



Selective mutism; peer inclusion; sense of belonging; inclusive music therapy


This case study explores how the inclusion of peers in individual music therapy sessions helped to support Isobel, a girl with Selective Mutism. Goals of participation, listening, following instructions and decision-making focused on increasing her ability to participate in the social context of the classroom. Peer inclusion in sessions fostered positive relationships, provided peers with a communication toolkit and increased Isobel’s social confidence with participating peers. Peers formed a bridge between the music therapy room and the classroom, allowing improvements in one to generalise to the other. It is further suggested that as positive peer relationships developed, Isobel’s sense of belonging increased, which in turn reduced her anxiety within the classroom context.

[Complete article available in full journal.]

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