Music Therapy: Storytelling with Special Needs Children

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This research investigates the effect of music therapy towards storytelling with special needs children. Music therapy is the structured use of music experiences to facilitate positive changes in human behaviour. It is a professional discipline that uses music to achieve therapeutic aims (Daveson & Edwards, 1998). Music therapy in special education is the functional use of music to achieve and enhance special education goals, while offering an alternative to traditional teaching methods (Daveson & Edwards, 1998). Positive changes in human behaviour means that music therapy aims to help special needs children to develop skills that have to do with overall development and personal growth. Children involved in this study are autistics. Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. Autism impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills (Dawson, G., Toth, K., Abbott, R., Osterling, J., Munson, J., Estes, A., and Liaw, J., 2004). Children with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. The disorder makes it hard for them to communicate with others and relate to the outside world. Therefore, this study is to use music therapy to enhance the subjects to concerntrate on the story told by the teacher and also able to storytell to the class. Subjects consist of 4 autistic children from Melaka, Malaysia ages between 8 to 12 years old. It is found that autistic children able to understand the story and to storytell to the rest of the classroom. Music therapy had made the autistic children feel happy and always in a calm situation.


Keywords: Special Needs Children, Music Therapy, Human Behaviour
Stream: Psychology, Cognitive Science and Behavioural Sciences
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Music Therapy


Prof Dr. Normaliza Abd Rahim

Lecturer, Department of Malay Language, Universiti Putra Malaysia
Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

Dr. Normaliza Abd Rahim is currently the coordinator for the Translation and Intepretation and Language Technology Lecturer at Universiti Putra Malaysia. Due to her keen interest in language technology in teaching and learning, and her wide experience in teaching the English language courses, she was appointed as the consultant for curriculum development for private universities and colleges in one of the states in Malaysia. As such, she provides assistance in developing activities to enhance the usage of English language by using the computer amongst the students in the university. She is also interested on special educational needs children where at present she is the consultant for one of the states in Malaysia. She involves voluntarily in giving advice to parents and teachers of the special needs.

Dr. Zaitul Azma Zainon Hamzah

Lecturer, Department of Malay Language, Universiti Putra Malaysia
Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

Holds a Doctoral Degree in Semantic and Pragmatic. Areas of interest are Pragmatics in Children, Semantic and Translation. Currently supervsing Ph.D students mastering the Teaching and Learning of Malay Language.

Ref: I08P0057