Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education



First Advisor

Sherwin, Gary H.

Second Advisor

Wright, Randall


The research demonstrates that music therapy is an effective tool in the area of communication and behavior with children with autism and children with other learning disabilities. The hypothesis of this thesis predicted that music would enhance communication and decrease inappropriate behaviors. Qualitative data were gathered from interviews with music therapists and observations of students diagnosed with autism and other disabilities including attention deficit disorder, cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome, and other levels of mental retardation. Results supported the hypothesis and also supported the research in the literature that music lowered the anxiety levels in all individuals, resulting in increased learning.