Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Building and Sustaining Connections through Music Therapy with Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in a Special Learning Centre of a Primary School in New Zealand

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Version 2 2023-09-22, 01:43
Version 1 2021-11-23, 11:55
posted on 2023-09-22, 01:43 authored by Kong, Jingyuan Cici

This research project helped me, a student music therapist, to understand the process of building and sustaining connections through music therapy with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The clinical work took place in eight months and I employed secondary analysis of music therapy session data as my research strategy to look at how to build and sustain connections through music therapy with children with ASD in a special learning centre of a primary school in New Zealand. This study showed the results of my work with four students, by reusing my clinical notes, reflective journal and notes from discussions and meetings with staff members in March and May. I used thematic analysis as my analysis method to identify themes from my data, in order to answer my research question.  This research suggested that the building of connections and later sustaining them seemed to occur in stages, not identical for each child, but showing a certain type of pattern, characteristic of children with autism. I used some strategies to address the challenges in my music therapy practice, and these are the codes and themes that I identified in the findings.  The process of my research improved my music improvisation skills, verbal communication skills, ability to establish and hold boundaries, and self-confidence.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY 4.0

Degree Discipline

Music Therapy

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Music Therapy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

New Zealand School of Music


Hoskyns, Sarah