Tim Brunson DCH

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The effect of music on peer awareness in preschool age children with developmental disabilities

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of music on peer awareness in preschool age children with developmental disabilities. Specifically, this study sought to find which combinations of musical and play elements produced the longest durations of sustained attention towards peers and the highest frequency of alternating attention from peer to peer. Nine children between the ages of 2 and 6 who had been diagnosed with a developmental disability participated in the study. Each participant completed 4 small group sessions with the researcher and 2 other research participants. During each session, the children participated in activities targeting peer awareness that incorporated musical and play elements. Behavioral data were recorded representing the children's sustained and alternating attention towards peers. Results indicated that children sustained attention towards peers for the longest durations and alternated attention from peer to peer at the highest frequencies during activities that utilized a musical object within a nonmusical or play-based context.

J Music Ther. 2009 Spring;46(1):53-68. Sussman JE. University of Missouri-Kansas City, USA.

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