Feasibility of parent coaching of music interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder

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11 Scopus citations


Parent-mediated interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have elicited emerging interest among music therapists. A conceptual framework (reported elsewhere) delineated the incorporation of music to an established parent coaching model (Parent-Early Start Denver Model [P-ESDM];). The purpose of this study was to explore the feasibility of adapting the P-ESDM to a music-based parent coaching model. An alternating treatments design with a parent–child dyad was implemented, with music and non-music conditions in each treatment session. Behavioral video analysis of parental verbal and non-verbal responsiveness, child joint attention and verbal behaviors, and parent and therapist adherence to treatment provided quantitative data. A semi-structured follow-up interview with a parent addressed concerns, preferences, and suggestions for improvement. Parental verbal responsiveness seemed lower during the music condition, but non-verbal responsiveness increased notably during the music condition. Parent adherence to treatment was achieved in the sixth session. Child receptive joint attention increased in the music condition only, and initiating joint attention was higher in most sessions during the music condition. Parental comfort with the music did not seem ideal with the brief time allotted to training despite familiarity with the music. Music-based parent coaching to enhance social communication of preschoolers with ASD seems feasible. This study provides initial support to a conceptual framework of parent coaching of music interventions. Further research should investigate other methods to teach the music, alternative session schedules, and more precise measures of parental responsiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-204
Number of pages10
JournalMusic Therapy Perspectives
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


  • Autism
  • Coaching
  • Early intervention
  • Family
  • Self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Music
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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