Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Use of Music Therapy to Support Speech and Expressive Language Development for Pre-School Children with Special Needs

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posted on 2021-11-12, 10:07 authored by Ludlam, Shari K.

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.


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 Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

New Zealand School of Music


Hoskyns, Sarah