Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Dr. David Weintraub


Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are challenged with communicative skills, which can negatively influence their emotional development. As children with ASD in the local school were not demonstrating functional communication skills as measured by the Assessment of Social Skills for Children with Autism (ASSCM), music therapy was introduced as remediation. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which music therapy increased the ASSCM scores. This single subject design study was guided by Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory, which holds that individuals are impacted by various environmental systems around them. The research question addressed the extent to which 9 weeks of music therapy increased ASSCM scores of 6 children with ASD that participated in weekly music therapy. The deidentified secondary data showed initial ASSCM scores were 32 on a scale from 30 to 90. The scores of the 6 students that attended the weekly music therapy increased by 36 points. The Percentage of Data Points Exceeding the Median (PEM) effect size used in single subject studies to determine potential statistically significant performance improvement over time was 100%, meaning that all students exceeded the median pretest score. A professional development program was designed to assist the school district's special education teachers in the use of music therapy. Positive social change implications may include the ability for children with ASD to communicate with their peers and hence, integrating them into the classroom and school environment. After all, school is not only about learning academic subjects but an opportunity to interact and function in a social setting, increasing the social and emotional well-being of children.