Title

3D Printing: The Effect of Adapted Mallets on the Participation of Children with Severe and Multiple Disabilities

Poster Number

4a

Lead Author Affiliation

Music Therapy

Lead Author Status

Masters Student

Introduction

There is a lack of recent published research on the benefits of adapted equipment in the field of music therapy working with students with multiple disabilities. Although not recent, the only direct reference on adaptive instruments for music therapy is by Elliott (1982). She had published a book on different ways to adapt instruments to particular situations. Current literature from physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy indicates the benefits of adapted equipment. In terms of 3D-printing and its implications in music therapy, there has been no past research or ongoing projects.

Purpose

6.6 million public school students in 2014-2015 receive special education services (United States Depart of Education, 2017). There is a need for those students to have more opportunities to participate in activities that will motivate them to practice functional behaviors, assist them in achieving their goals, but also give them an opportunity to freely express themselves in avenues where they can feel successful. Music therapy has been a beneficial type of therapy for people with disabilities as it provides the student motivating opportunities to work towards an area of need ina environment that the student can feel successful in. The American Music Therapy Association requires music therapists to be competent in using adapted equipment, including specifically adapted musical instruments to better cater to students with disabilities. In the case of students with multiple disabilities, they often have areas of need in the motor area and would benefit from receiving adaptive equipment to help them meet the motor goals within music therapy. One of the most immediately gratifying avenues for children to enjoy participating in the music setting is to produce sounds on instruments. There are currently three adaptive mallets sold that are readily available to music therapists, and none of which are truly customizable. The range of motor function of children with multiple disabilities is so vast, therefore there is a need for a customizable mallet. With the release of 3D printing opportunities, one can design an adaptive mallet that can be made to fit the students' individualities with relatively affordable costs. This research will seek to identify the characteristics of certain models of adaptive mallets that will lead children with severe and multiple disabilities to produce the most frequent and audible sounds.

Method

Three participants with limited control over motor movement, no means of independent mobility and who must be transported by caregivers, were selected from one classroom in a specialized elementary school for children with disabilities. The researcher brought each individual participant out of class with their respective aide for 5-7 minutes a single time. They were individually brought to a soundproof room with an audio recording application (Sound Meter iOS, 2014) 6” away from a 10” frame drum. The audio recording application recorded the frequency of sound produced as well as decibel level (dB). Each participant was separately given five different mallets in random order to produce a sound on the frame drum within 30 seconds during a song sung by the music therapist. The sounds and dB level were recorded when the song began and immediately stopped when the 30 seconds had passed.

Results

There does not seem to be a general positive or negative trend among participants regarding dB level or frequency of sound produced with the order of adaptive mallets provided. Therefore, the results were not caused by practice effect. In Figure 1.1, each participant played the most frequent times on different adaptive mallets. MAR played the most on Foam, MIK played the most on the 3D-printed, and AM played the most on the Transverse. However, Control (without any augmentation) had the least amount of sound produced across all three clients. In Figure 1.2, there is an apparent vast difference in skills across all of the participants. For participant AM, she did not produce sound on the drum instead she was producing sounds by snapping her head to the beat. In Figure 2.1, the participants generally played the loudest on the Cuff or 3D mallet. MIK played the loudest on the 3D printed adaptive mallet. However, Control (without any augmentation) did not see too much of a difference in dB level compared to the other mallets. In Figure 2.2, one could see that MIK is able to play the loudest out of the three and AM had the most variety (her mood often was labile).

Significance

The purpose of this study was to examine the differences and characteristics of certain models of adaptive mallets that will lead the students to produce the most frequent and audible sounds. The results show that there is not a noticeable pattern of preference any augmented type of mallet grip. However, the data indicates that across all the children, they produced the lowest dB level and the least frequency of sounds on the control mallet. The results show that there are different preferences for each individual child based on the material and design, not just the customized hand contour. For future research, it is recommended to recruit a larger sample size to collect more data to accurately generalize the findings to the population, test different textures and materials (some participants seemed to enjoy the texture of the foam adaptive mallet by holding on to the mallet longer). The children participated in music-making based on the preference of not only their hand contour but the material and design of the adaptation. The possibilities and implications for this new type of process are endless for adaptive equipment. Once the initial mold of an individual’s hand is 3D scanned into the software, one could easily adjust it to any device such as a tambourine, bells, spoon, or anything that needs to be adapted. Based on the results, one could easily change the material and the texture of the adaptive equipment so it would be made to an individual’s preference. The material used can be switched to be made durable, malleable, or completely flexible. In the future, when 3D printers become more readily available, one could print out a grip within 1-2 hours.

Location

DeRosa University Center

Format

Poster Presentation

Poster Session

Morning 10am-12pm

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Apr 28th, 10:00 AM Apr 28th, 12:00 PM

3D Printing: The Effect of Adapted Mallets on the Participation of Children with Severe and Multiple Disabilities

DeRosa University Center

There is a lack of recent published research on the benefits of adapted equipment in the field of music therapy working with students with multiple disabilities. Although not recent, the only direct reference on adaptive instruments for music therapy is by Elliott (1982). She had published a book on different ways to adapt instruments to particular situations. Current literature from physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy indicates the benefits of adapted equipment. In terms of 3D-printing and its implications in music therapy, there has been no past research or ongoing projects.