Document Type



Music therapy interventions, especially singing, can aid those with communication disorders to attain and develop verbal and non-verbal communication and language skills, as well as functional social skills. Throughout my own interactions with those with communication impairments, I have witnessed many individuals who struggle with typical speech, but are better able to communicate when music is involved. For instance, a young boy with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) who does not typically speak independently or when prompted is able to sing every word to familiar songs on the radio that he enjoys. Such evidence of the positive effect that music can have on one’s communication skills has motivated me to further research the field of music therapy, with a concentration in singing. Research and observations reveal the relationships among music, communication, and the brain, and the ways in which related pathways within the brain can modify themselves, in response to therapeutic interventions, to accommodate one’s communication disabilities. Unfortunately, there is a limited amount of research within the field of music therapy involving interventions for specific communication disorders, as well as limited findings related to the effectiveness of existing music therapy interventions. However, the field of music therapy has made significant contributions towards helping people with communication disabilities. This paper will discuss existing research and include an overview of the field of music therapy, a discussion of the concept of neuroplasticity, and notes on personal experiences and my observations of a professional music therapist.


Music and Special Education

Thesis Comittee

Jean L. Kreiling (Thesis Director)

Edward Carter

Donald Running

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.