Music interventions for children with autism: narrative review of the literature

J Autism Dev Disord. 2011 Nov;41(11):1507-14. doi: 10.1007/s10803-010-1172-y.


It is widely reported that music can be beneficial to individuals with autism. This review was undertaken to determine the evidence base for the use of music as an intervention for children with autism. After searching relevant databases, 128 articles were identified of which 20 articles met the study's inclusion criteria. Composed songs and improvisational music therapy were the predominant music techniques used. There was somewhat limited evidence to support the use of music interventions under certain conditions to facilitate social, communicative and behavioural skills in young children with autism. The implications of these findings in terms of use of music interventions, issues related to generalization and maintenance, and future research are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / psychology
  • Autistic Disorder / therapy*
  • Child
  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Music / psychology*
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Treatment Outcome