Music for All: Including young people with intellectual disability in a university environment

J Intellect Disabil. 2018 Sep;22(3):279-293. doi: 10.1177/1744629517701860. Epub 2017 Apr 4.


We investigated a continuing education course in creative music making, initiated to promote the inclusion of young people with intellectual disability in a university setting. Despite organizers' attempts to foster diversity within the student cohort, enrolments were almost exclusively from students who had intellectual disability. Being in the university environment, and in a place of higher learning, seemed to be valued by some. However, students' main focus was on group musicking in a dedicated music room rather than interacting with the wider university community. Those who did not identify as disabled believed it was important to continue to address the barriers to wider inclusion. While acknowledging the risks around mediating the social interactions of young people with intellectual disability, we argue that future courses should include activities specifically designed to bring them to classes with typical students and to the wider activities of the university.

Keywords: community music therapy; inclusion; intellectual disability; music.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / rehabilitation*
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Persons with Mental Disabilities / psychology*
  • Universities*
  • Young Adult