The use of music therapy to support speech and expressive language development for pre-school children with special needs : an exegesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Music Therapy at New Zealand School of Music, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Client-centred music therapy with individual pre-school children, involving playful but focused songs, behaviours and instrumental play, can enhance their speech and expressive language development. Four constructs were inductively created using the principles of grounded theory to represent how music therapy was used to support speech and expressive language development for pre-school children with special needs. Secondary analysis was undertaken of qualitative data drawn from usual clinical practice including clinical notes, reflective journal, audiovisual recordings, and notes from communications regarding two children from a student music therapist’s caseload at a specialist centre in New Zealand. A case vignette is presented to illustrate these four meaningful constructs of individual music therapy and concepts that constitute each are presented, along with sample quotations from the data, and are theoretically integrated within wider music therapy literature. A tree model was used to capture these findings, which further suggested ‘playfulness’ may be a central aspect of the work. Implications for my developing and future clinical practice of music therapy are discussed, along with directions indicated for future research.
Music therapy for children, Developmentally disabled children, Preschool children with special needs, Speech, Language development, New Zealand