An increasing number of research studies have highlighted various links between Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and learning through visual, aural and kinesthetic aids. This study explored the process of song learning using Music Therapy techniques in combination with Picture Communications Symbols (PCS). Music therapy sessions were conducted with two groups of children diagnosed with ASD at Unica School for Autism. For the first 3 sessions Group A’s sessions were conducted making use of music therapy in combination with PCS (referred to as MTPS), whilst Group B only received music therapy techniques (referred to as MT). For session 4 to 6 Group A’s sessions were conducted making use of music therapy techniques (MT) whilst Group B received music therapy techniques in combination with PCS techniques (MTPS). The two groups’ processes were compared with each other in terms of how the participants from both groups learned a new song. A crossover comparative case study method was employed and final themes were identified and linked to relevant literature. This study suggests that both Music Therapy and PCS offered a different learning experience for both groups. When reinforced in combination with each other, a multi-sensory learning experience occurred which offered the participants the tools to be spontaneous, self-expressive and socially and musically flexible thus breaking away from the ritualistic and typical experience of ASD. Both techniques provided the participants with non-verbal and comprehendible cues which promoted and reinforced the recollection of both the songs.
Mini Dissertation (MMus)--University of Pretoria, 2017.