Monthly Archives: September 2014

Music Therapy for Adolescents with Autism, learning Disabilities and Challenging Behaviours

White, B. (2014). ‘What sound can you make?’ A case study of a music therapy group for children with autism, learning disabilities and challenging behaviours. Approaches: Music Therapy & Special Music Education, First View (Advance online publication), 1-10. Retrieved from

Today the special education and music therapy journal ‘approaches’  published my case study about a music therapy group I ran for adolescents with autism, learning disabilities and challenging behaviours. The group consisted of four young people, with severe autism and communication difficulties. In the music therapy group the young people began to relate to each other and to the adults around them. I used a combination of psychodynamic music therapy, together with improvisational music and TEACCH to encourage the young people to develop communication and relating. One particular moment I remember from this group (which took place in 2009 – 2010) was one young girl starting to use her voice for the very first time. She had been silent and withdrawn, and when I started to vocalise and sing to her she seemed to notice me for the first time, and start to use her voice. This vocalising carried onto the class room and home, where she started to vocalise more and seemed to become aware that her voice could have an impact on others. This case study was written for my Masters Dissertation (2011), and is a write up of the work I was doing at the time in a residential school for children with autism. I would like to thank the people that gave me support during this time, since it was a difficult time for me personally and I lost my Dad two weeks after gaining my Masters qualification. Thanks to Robin White, my lovely husband, David Hughes the proof reader and fountain of knowledge, Veronica Austin my clinical supervisor at the time, Amelia Oldfield my academic supervisor at Anglia Ruskin University and the team I worked with in the school.  

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