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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Music Therapy

First Advisor

Feilin Hsiao

First Committee Member

Ruth V. Brittin

Second Committee Member

Eric Hammer


The purpose of this study was to determine the changes in four measures of participation for a small sample of children with severe and multiple disabilities when using adapted rhythm instruments. The four measures of participation were: 1) on- task behavior, 2) motivational behavior - smile, 3) motivational behavior - pleasure sounds and 4) performance. Six children between the ages of 5 and 11 years old participated in: eight music therapy sessions over a 14-week period. The sessions consisted of two phases: 1) Baseline Phase (utilizing rhythm instruments), and 2) treatment Phase (utilizing individually adapted rhythm instruments). A Chi-squared test was used to compare on-task behavior between phases. Friedman Two-Way Test of Analysis of Variance tests were used to compare Baseline to Treatment Phases for both motivational behaviors and performance. Results showed one incidence of statistical significance in on-task behaviors. No significance was found for the other three measures. Although no significance was found, the data indicates a pattern between phases.

Significant statements taken from the teacher and researcher documents were divided into categories and then condensed into themes by each Phase. Statements showed a reported increase in positive non-typical behaviors, positive emotions, independence, and positive experiences during the Treatment Phases. The teacher reported a decrease in anxious behaviors and off-task behaviors during Treatment. The qualitative data supported and provided context for the patterns found within the quantitative data.



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