Early Childhood Music Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorders
Release Date:01 Nov 2012
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Early Childhood Music Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Developing Potential in Young Children and their Families

Foreword by David Aldridge; Edited by Marcia Humpal and Petra Kern
Jessica Kingsley Publishers

This comprehensive book includes an overview of recent developments in ASD and effective music therapy interventions based on ASD-specific approaches, instructional strategies and techniques for use in children's natural environments.


Therapists wishing to conduct family-centered practice and to support parents integrate music into home routines will find a wealth of information, together with insights from music therapists who are parents of children with ASD. The book also looks at collaboration and consultation with interdisciplinary team members, including early childhood educators, speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists. Case scenarios, examples, checklists, charts, tip sheets, music scores, and online resources make this book accessible for everyone.  


Throughout the book's sixteen chapters, renowned experts share knowledge and practical applications that will give music therapists, students, professionals, educators, families and anyone interested in working with young children with ASD, a detailed understanding of the implementation and range of music therapy practices that can benefit these children and their families.

This text is a great resource for professionals and parents of children with ASD. It is very reader friendly, full of practical advise.

– Play for Life

One of its strengths is the way it encourages us to look beyond the confines of the therapy room.

– British Journal of Music Therapy

Music therapy potentially has practices to offer the professionals working with children with autism; those practices, however, must be evaluated experimentally to be of use. This book makes a significant contribution toward providing the field with the experimental methods for such evaluations.

– Mark Wolery, Ph.D., Professor of Special Education, Vanderbilt University

This book provides a resource of music therapy interventions firmly based in evidence from both research and practice. We now have a platform from which we can all develop further.

– From the foreword by David Aldridge, social science researcher, author of many books and Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, London

The editors of this book are highly distinguished in the use of music therapy with persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder and have compiled an outstanding compendium of information in a much needed clinical specialty area. They cover all aspects of clinical MT treatment from identifying and defining the problem to assessment and multiple methods of intervention and evaluation. It is a comprehensive volume that will be invaluable to clinicians and educators and is a welcome addition to the field.

– Jayne Standley, Ph. D., MT-BC, Ella Scoble Opperman and Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Music Therapy, The Florida State University

Petra Kern and Marcia Humpal have edited a remarkable book on children with autism spectrum disorders that includes a wide range of topics and approaches focusing on the use of music in therapy. The information is presented in reader-friendly terms and includes supporting research, case examples, and practical ideas. Contributions from seasoned researchers in the field make this book an incredible evidence-based resource for professionals, students, and parents.

– Blythe LaGasse, Ph.D., MT-BC, assistant professor of music therapy, Colorado State University

This book is written by some of the most prominent clinicians and researchers in the field or music therapy. Co-edited by Petra Kern and Marcia Humpal, this publication offers the most current view of music therapy in early childhood and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with a strong emphasis on evidence-based practice. It provides a broad overview of recognized treatment approaches for children with ASD including applicable research substantiation. A detailed summary of music therapy intervention research that supports evidence-based treatment modalities is provided. Clinical examples shared by the authors further demonstrate the practical applications of music therapy interventions designed to meet the needs of this population. Information on the assessment process, effective strategies and service delivery is also included. The book concludes with a wealth of resources including websites, books, research, and technology.

"Early Childhood Music Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorders" is a book whose importance cannot be overestimated in light of today's focus on ASD and evidence-based practice. It is a rich resource that challenges readers to increase their knowledge of the treatment approaches that are currently supported by research, examine their work in light of the evidence supporting specific modalities, and inform their own practice accordingly. Petra Kern and Marcia Humpal have provided us with a book that is balanced, well informed and critical to our understanding of the young child with ASD.

– imagine 4(1), 2013

Many parents and professionals have noted the connection between young children with ASD and music and some have incorporated music activities into their homes or school programs. Up until now, however, there has not been a rigorous or comprehensive statement about the practice, its scope, and its possibilities. This new book is most welcome and long overdue. Its scholarly treatment of all aspects of musical approaches and therapy with young children with ASD promises to be an important contribution to the field.

The best thing about this book is that it has something to offer to everyone. For the practicing therapist it explains some of the rigors of scientific approaches and nicely illustrates how musical interventions fit into the prevailing practices in the field for young children. For the scientist, it offers a comprehensive description of research, evidence-based practice, and field studies and the scientific relevance and possibilities related to the work. And for the many parents and professionals who have noticed that music and ASD often have some connection in young children, it broadens their understanding of the current scope and future possibilities. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to the authors for finally giving this field the kind of recognition that it deserves.

– Gary B. Mesibov, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Petra Kern, Ph.D., MT-DMtG, MT-BC, MTA, owner of Music Therapy Consulting, has a clinical and research focus on young children with autism spectrum disorders, inclusion, and staff training. She is recipient of the AMTA 2008 Research/Publications Award, editor of imagine, and author of numerous publications. A former scholar at UNC at Chapel Hill, Dr Kern has taught at the University of Windsor and SUNY New Paltz, and currently teaches at Marylhurst University. She serves as the immediate Past President of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT), on various editorial boards, and is a frequent international speaker and guest University lecturer. Petra lives in Santa Barbara, California. Marcia Humpal, M.Ed., MT-BC operates a small private practice in the Cleveland, OH area. Her clinical work focuses on early intervention and inclusion. She was a member of the advisory panel for Sesame Street's Music Works Wonders project, and has published and presented widely. A past Vice-President of AMTA, she co-chairs AMTA's Strategic Priority on Music Therapy and ASD Workgroup and serves on the editorial team of imagine. She received the AMTA Award of Merit in 2004. Marcia lives near Cleveland, OH in Olmsted Falls.
Foreword by David Aldridge, Co-Director, Nordoff Robbins Centre, Witten, Germany. Preface, Petra Kern, Music Therapist, Owner, Music Therapy Consulting, California and Marcia Humpal, Music Therapist, Ohio. Acknowledgements. About the Editors. Contributing Authors.  Part I. Introduction and Research. 1. Autism Spectrum Disorders Primer: Characteristics, Causes, Prevalence, and Intervention. Petra Kern, Music Therapist, Owner, Music Therapy Consulting, California. 2. Evidence-Based Practice for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Implications for Music Therapy. Marcia Humpal, Music Therapist, Ohio and Petra Kern, Music Therapist, Owner, Music Therapy Consulting, California. 3. Music Therapy as an Effective Treatment for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Meta-Analysis. Jennifer Whipple, Associate Professor and Director of Music Therapy, Charleston Southern University, South Carolina. Part II. Assessment and Goals. 4. Assessment and Goals: Determining Eligibility, Gathering Information, and Generating Treatment Goals for Music Therapy Services. Linda K. Martin, Music Therapist, Coast Music Therapy, California, Angela M. Snell, Music Therapist, Monroe County Intermediate School District, Michigan, Darcy Walworth, Director of Music Therapy, University of Louisville and Marcia Humpal, Music Therapist, Ohio. Part III. Treatment Approaches. 5. Applied Behaviour Analysis: Introduction and Practical Application in Music Therapy for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Linda K. Martin, Music Therapist, Coast Music Therapy, California. 6. Social Stories™: Pairing the Story with Music. Mike D. Brownell, Director of Music Therapy Services of Ann Arbor, Michigan. 7. Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy: An Expressive and Dynamic Approach for Young Children on the Autism Spectrum. Nina Guerrero, Research Coordinator, Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University and Alan Turry, Managing Director, Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University. 8. DIR®/Floortime Model ™: Introduction and Considerations for Improvisational Music Therapy. John A. Carpente, Assistant Professor, Music and Music Therapy and Clinical Director, The Center for Autism and Child Development, Molloy College, Rockville Centre, New York. 9. Strategies and Techniques: Making it Happen for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Marcia Humpal, Music Therapist, Ohio and Petra Kern, Music Therapist, Owner, Music Therapy Consulting, California. Part IV. Collaboration and Consultation. 10. Collaborative Consultation: Embedding Music Therapy Interventions for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Inclusive Preschool Settings. Petra Kern, Music Therapist, Owner, Music Therapy Consulting, California. 11. Communication and Language Development: Implications for Music Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Hayoung A. Lim, Director of Graduate Studies in Music Therapy, Sam Houston State University, Texas. 12. Sensory Processing in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Applications for Music Therapy Practice. Linn Wakeford, Associate Professor, Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of North Carolina. 13. Family-Centered Practice: Integrating Music into Home Routines. Darcy Walworth, Director of Music Therapy, University of Louisville. 14. Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Personal Perspectives and Insights from Music Therapists. Marcia Humpal, Music Therapist, Ohio. Part V. Selected Resources. 15. Resources within Reach: Information at Your Fingertips. Petra Kern, Music Therapist, Owner, Music Therapy Consulting, California. 16. Annotated Bibliography: Research At-a-Glance. Marcia Humpal, Music Therapist, Ohio. Index.
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