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What changes in relationship with their children do primary caregivers perceive as having occured since being involved in a centre-based early intervention music therapy programme? : a thesis presented to fulfill the requirements for the degree of Master of Music Therapy at Massey University
The purpose of the present study was to examine how participation in music
therapy (MT) influenced the carer-child relationship when both carer and child were
involved in group and individual MT as part of an early intervention (EI) programme
The study took place at the Wellington Early [ntervention Trust (WEIT), a centre
catering for children with significant disabilities, and their families.
Four primary caregivers involved in this centre-based, multi-disciplinary EI
programme involving both weekly group and individual MT were interviewed. Two
carers had more than twenty MT sessions, while two carers were interviewed after only
ten sessions. Analysis of the transcripts comparing the carers' responses revealed a
number of common features: First, a marked change was observed in the nature and
quality of carer-child interactions consequent on participation in a specific EI
programme. All four participants4 spoke positively about their involvement with their
children in both the group and individual MT sessions. Second, not only did the carers
report positive gains in their children's overall development as a result of their
experience of MT in EI, but all four participants reported how they now used music as
part of their every day lives as a tool to encourage and maintain positive carer-child
interactive experiences. Third, each carer became more aware and confident in how to
use their own voice and body language to engage in successful interactions with their
This study found that the interactions between child and caregiver changed in
nature and quality since being involved in MT in EI. Their relationship with their child
had strengthened with positive results for the child's developmental objectives.