Learning a musical instrument can benefit a child with special educational needs

Dawn C. Rose, Alice Jones Bartoli, Pamela Heaton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Downloads (Pure)


This study explores outcomes related to musical learning in a child with complex special educational needs. CB is a boy who was 8 years old at the start of the study and was diagnosed with comorbid 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 1 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. Posttesting revealed improvements in CB’s fluid intelligence and motor skills, and although 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. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-81
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2018


  • Musical Training
  • Learning and Behavioural Difficulties
  • Special Educational Needs


Dive into the research topics of 'Learning a musical instrument can benefit a child with special educational needs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this