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Creative Therapy Adelaide


Music Therapy and Autism

Author: Ri Na Yu, Registered Music Therapist

Music Therapy and autism

This photograph is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent the person featured in this case study.

Participant’s Situation


Therapy Goal

To develop socio-emotional skills, cognitive skills, emotional regulation skills, fine and gross motor skills and expressive language skills.

Areas of Intervention

Focused on piano skills.

Benefits Gained Through Therapy

Gradually improved all areas of his goals.


Boston is a 14-year-old autistic boy, who requires significant support in a wide range of areas in his life. As Boston is highly motivated by music, Boston’s parents sought music therapy for him to help improve his socio-emotional, cognitive and motor development as well as self-care skills and develop his communication skills. 

When Boston began music therapy he was enthusiastic about learning guitar, piano and ukulele to play music from games he played at home. 45-minute music therapy sessions took place every week in our Torrensville clinic. Initially, Boston engaged in learning guitar skills, but ended up more motivated by the piano instead. It proved to be a motivating factor, fostering Boston’s ability to longer periods of attention. Over two years, Boston exhibited steady progress in all his objectives, gaining confidence that significantly enhanced his expressive communication skills and clearer pronunciation, through the collaborative experience of learning an instrument. Frequently, Boston conveyed his fatigue during the post-school sessions, finding it challenging to maintain focus. However, he discovered that playing his favourite song served as a helpful tool, allowing him to regulate himself and quickly re-immerse in the session.

During Boston’s progression in music therapy sessions, noticeable enhancements and increased confidence in piano skills became evident. To begin with, Boston was anxious to play with both hands together, incorporating left-hand accompaniment and right-hand melody. However, as confidence grew, Boston willingly embraced challenges, successfully playing diverse elements with both hands simultaneously. This not only demonstrated Boston’s improved musical abilities, but also his improved confidence and attention.

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