Music therapy and autism: a spectrum of approaches across the lifespan - what does this mean for the profession?

Elizabeth Coombes, Emma Maclean, Amelia Oldfield, Alastair Roberts, Beth Pickard

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


Background: This roundtable will explore a spectrum of approaches for music therapy and autism from the perspective of practitioners in the UK, all of whom have contributed to a forthcoming publication (Dunn, Coombes, MacLean, Mottram and Nugent 2019). The tension and resonance between evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence will form the lens through which this exploration takes place.

Objectives: To foster debate regarding how aspects of practice may influence the way we develop a body of evidence supporting work with this population.

Content: As demands for evidence-based practice continue to encourage positivistic research, there may be a tendency to overlook the diversity of music therapy approaches with this population. From each of their perspectives, the panel will provide research and practice-based insights into their experiences of working with this client population,

• does the need for large RCT trials (Geretsegger et al. 2014, Crawford et al. 2017) mean that we are in danger of losing the richness of the diversity of approaches needed with people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions?
• Are there times when we strive to change the person with autism rather than impacting society’s view of the condition?
• How does collaborative and transdiscplinary working link with the development of an evidence base?

Conclusion: the diversity of approaches and thinking offered by the panel will provide the opportunity for a relevant discourse in this field of practice.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2019
EventEuropean Music Therapy Conference - Aalborg University, Aalbog, Denmark
Duration: 26 Jun 201930 Jun 2019


ConferenceEuropean Music Therapy Conference
Internet address


  • music therapy
  • autism
  • spectrum
  • evidence based practice
  • practice based evidence


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