University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Journal publication date7 May 2018
StateAccepted/In press - 7 May 2018


This study explores outcomes related to musical learning in a child with complex special educational needs. CB is a boy who was eight-years-old at the start of the study, and who was diagnosed with co-morbid Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Sensory Processing Difficulties, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia during the study. He was evaluated on a battery of developmental measures before and after one year of music learning. At pretesting CB obtained a high musical aptitude score and an average IQ score. However, his scores on tests measuring motor abilities, executive function, and social-emotional skills were low. Post-testing revealed improvements in CB’sfluid intelligence and motor skills, and whilst teacher and parent reports suggested a decline in his social-emotional functioning, his musical progress was good.  The results are discussed in the context of impairments in developmental disorders, the importance of flexible teaching approaches and family support for music learning during childhood.


About the Authors Dawn Rose is a postdoctoral research fellow investigating motor behaviours. Dr. Alice Jones Bartoli is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Unit of School and Family Studies. Her research interests include the development of antisocial behaviours and socio-emotional processing skills in children. Professor Pamela Heaton specialises in development disorders. Her research interests include the relationship between speech and music perception in autism spectrum disorder and William’s syndrome.

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