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August 8, 2017

Music Therapy for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2017;318(6):523-524. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.9477

In this issue of JAMA, Bieleninik and colleagues1 present the results of a large, well-designed, multicenter randomized clinical trial (RCT) of improvisational music therapy for young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Music therapy is “a systematic process of intervention wherein the therapist helps the client to promote health, using musical experiences and the relationships that develop through them.”2 Among 364 children aged 4 to 7 years, over 5 months, the mean scores on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), social affect domain, decreased from 14.08 to 13.23 among children randomized to improvisational music therapy and from 13.49 to 12.58 among those randomized to enhanced standard care, a mean difference in change scores of 0.06 (95% CI, −0.70 to 0.81), with no significant differences between groups.

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