A survey of music therapy methods and their role in the treatment of early elementary school children with ADHD

J Music Ther. 2003 Winter;40(4):302-23. doi: 10.1093/jmt/40.4.302.


Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has recently been receiving more frequent attention in professional circles and in the press, and some sources would assert that its occurrence in the general population is consistently growing. Because music therapists often work with preschool and school-age children, it is likely that they will increasingly be treating children with a diagnosis of ADHD. However, there is little in the music therapy literature about music therapy treatment for ADHD. The purpose of this survey was to ascertain what music therapy methods are being used for children with an ADHD diagnosis, how effective this treatment is perceived to be, and the role that music therapy treatment plays in relation to other forms of treatment. Results of the survey indicated that music therapists often utilize a number of music therapy methods in the treatment of children with ADHD. They often address multiple types of goals, and treatment outcome is generally perceived to be favorable. Referrals for music therapy services are received from a number of different sources, although parents and teachers were indicated to be the most frequent referral sources. Most children with ADHD receiving music therapy services also receive other forms of treatment, with an overwhelming majority receiving medication. The implications of these results are discussed, and areas for continuing research into the use of music therapy with ADHD are identified.

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Child Behavior
  • Child Health Services / standards
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / etiology
  • Learning Disabilities / therapy
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Music Therapy / standards*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards*
  • Psychology, Child
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care