Publication Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Music and Dance


autism spectrum disorder, communication, interaction, music as therapy, qualitative case study


This thesis is a qualitative case study about two children with autism spectrum disorder and the role of music in their lives. It explores how music serves as a non-threatening medium for learning and developing skills necessary to function successfully in life. The stories of the children and their parents are shared through their personal account and the author's observations. The literature in the field reveals that a structured/functional use of music helps communication, social interaction, appropriate behavior, motor skills, and academics in children with autism. Each child is able to actively participate in music-making within varied and appropriate settings as music accommodates different levels and abilities. With successful experiences, these children gain confidence and self-esteem, learn a skill, establish a socially appropriate hobby, and acquire outside acknowledgement and praise. Informal but functional uses of music at home, school, or elsewhere can benefit and aid children with autism. The stories of the participants show music's potential in helping individuals with autism live a more fulfilling and promising life.