Can music therapy benefit the whole family?

Long-Term Perspectives of Family Quality of Life Following Music Therapy with Young Children on the Autism Spectrum: A Phenomenological Study

A study from the University of Melbourne summarized the challenges that social and communication needs of children with ASD often pose for formation of family connection. Highlighting the value of successful family relationships on the development of social skills in children with ASD, Thompson (2017) examined parental perception of a family-centered music therapy program. Eight parents of pre-school aged children with ASD participated in a 16-week music therapy program targeting active music participation from both the parent and child through instrument play, directional songs, and movement to music. Parents were interviewed about the experience four years later to identify lasting impressions and potential long-term impacts. All participants reported that sessions were mutually enjoyable and most reported learning new ways to successfully engage with their children at home. Half of participants stated that sessions had benefitted their children’s interpersonal skills and helped their children to more effectively express themselves. Overall, documented parental perceptions revealed that participation in the family-centered music therapy sessions helped them to feel closer and more connected to their children.


Thompson, G. A. (2017). Long-term perspectives of family quality of life following music therapy with young children on the autism spectrum: A phenomenological study. Journal of Music Therapy, 54(4), 432-459. doi:10.1093/jmt/thx013