Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Education

Advisor

Darragh Callahan

Abstract

Some children have difficulty communicating due to a lack of age-appropriate language and social skills. Researchers have explored how music and language share features that shape language processing. The purpose of this interpretive phenomenological analysis was to explore the experiences of caregivers of preschool children who participated in a music-based program and to understand their perspectives related to children's language and social skill development. Learning style and sensory integration processing theories were used as framework to provide foundations of skills in this study. Research questions addressed caregivers' choices related to this program for their children, their experiences of their children's participation in the program, and how the caregivers perceive their children's language and social skills change as they participated in the program. Data from 8 participants were collected using narrative journals and interviews and were analyzed by identifying relationships and themes. Identified themes included the importance of choice of quality music program, improved language skills, improved social skills, and improvement in other areas. Caregivers reported that their children's language and social skills developed in the early weeks of participation in The Listening Program. Primary recommendations included providing opportunities to educate other parents and professionals about the benefits of music-based programs. Contributions to positive social change include the value of music-based programs as a complementary technique to aid language and social skill development in preschool aged children, and that children who participate become more effective communicators and interact more appropriately with others.