Year of Publication

2018

Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Fine Arts

Department

Music

First Advisor

Dr. Olivia Yinger

Abstract

Visual supports, which provide information presented in a visual format to enhance achievement toward specific goals, can be very helpful for individuals who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Music therapists often use visual supports in their practice; however, research exploring how they do so is limited. In the present study, the researcher used a mixed-methods research design to explore music therapists’ use of visual supports for individuals who have ASD. The researcher e-mailed a survey to board-certified music therapists who opted to receive e-mails from the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT), 525 of whom completed the entire survey. Approximately 70% of participants reported using visual supports “always” or “very often.” Participants most frequently reported using pictures with written words and visual schedules. Visual supports are most often used by music therapists in children’s facilities/schools and to address communication skills when working with individuals who have ASD. Participants most frequently reported using visual supports to generally enhance the session/interventions, using them to provide routine, predictability, and clear expectations for individuals who have ASD. Resources and recommendations provided by participants are also summarized. Open-ended responses were coded into themes, and most participants recommended specific software or applications and encouraged others to use certain visual supports, such as visual schedules and “real” pictures. Future researchers should examine the effectiveness of visual supports when used in music therapy sessions for individuals who have ASD.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2018.490

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