Children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) experience difficulties with communication, social interaction, and appropriate behaviours. Processing and understanding auditory information is often considered to be a crucial aspect of such difficulties. This 40 week study will test a filtered music listening programme, to determine whether regular listening habits can create positive changes in a child’s ability to engage socially.
Over a dozen music listening programmes are advertised on the internet, claiming to provide specific stimulation that trains the brain to process sound more accurately. These interventions vary in many ways, including theoretical bases, type of music used, modifications made to the music, and listening protocols. Some of the programmes have preliminary studies that show promise for treating autism and auditory processing difficulties, but few have reliable, scientifically based research to support their claims.
My study will determine if the programme I’ve selected is effective in improving aspects of social engagement. This will help to provide more accurate information about music listening programmes for parents, educators, and health care professionals.
You are invited to participate in this study if you are a parent with a child aged 4 to 8 years diagnosed with autism, and live in the UK. The study is part of my PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Edinburgh.