Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Music therapy for supporting communication development for young children with complex needs in a specialist conductive education service

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posted on 2021-08-29, 21:46 authored by Liang, Qiaoling

This research aimed to explore the ways in which I, as a music therapy student, could benefit speech and language development with children with complex needs in an early childhood service. Communication is one of the most important parts of our lives. It helps us to connect and build a relationship with others, families, friends and so on. Speech-language development is a core part in music therapy of Communication development for young children which aim to help children to express their inner feelings, emotions; to improve children’s understanding communication and interpret information from other people (Perry, 2003; Knight & Rabon 2017). This is theoretical exploratory research which contains various data from music therapy literature, music therapy audiovisual recordings in public domains, and reflective notes from general experience on placement. This research used a thematic analysis method. The data was interpreted in an open inductive way, discovering ideas and combinations of codes without assumptions, and finding new ideas from the sources. The data analysis method followed the guidelines of Braun & Clarke in 2006 which included six steps in the process: 1) familiarizing with data, 2) generating initial codes, 3) searching for themes, 4) reviewing themes, 5) defining and naming themes and 6) providing a report. This research found there were three main themes in response to the question how do music therapists support speech and language for young children. The most important fundamental process was “Building trust and familiarity” between therapist and child; the secondary theme or process was “Moving up together” which involved musical collaboration and enjoyment. Throughout these processes therapists used “flexible musical skills”. This exploratory study also helped me as a student music therapist to better understand how to facilitate and support speech and language development in my placement in a specialist conductive education facility.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Music Therapy

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Music Therapy

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

University Library

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Centre for Science in Society


Hoskyns, Sarah