Date of Award

Summer 8-17-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Special Education


Marisol Norris


This capstone thesis project explores a musical intervention (Development Interaction Through Music, DITM) for a 9-year-old girl with neurodevelopmental disorders in a school setting. Although there was research on the application of music therapy in different populations, there are relatively few documentations on music therapy in the field of special education. Some case studies have found that music therapy has a positive effect on people with developmental disorders (Thompson & McFerran, 2015). Clinicians need to engage in more clinical practice and collect case data as strong evidence. Music therapists who work with children with severe disabilities are recommended to build a communication platform to learn from each other to promote the development of music therapy. The Intervention of DITM was designed to use a therapeutic relationship as a promoter in music therapy to support the development of children whose social, communicational, and visual abilities are impaired. There were multiple methods used when collecting data, the most important of which included field notes and reflective journals, and artistic responses regarding the participant. Through implementation, result analysis and self-reflection, I found that the therapeutic relationship naturally grew the music experience and ultimately contributed to the progress of the participant. The core of the work was to provide a supportive environment, concrete objectives, and structured interventions for the client according to her needs. Through interaction with therapists and music, the musical talents of the participant were constantly developed.

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