Creating a Music Therapy Assessment Tool Specific to Persons with Severe to Profound Multiple Disabilities
University of Melbourne Author/sChurchill, Victoria
Document TypeMasters Coursework thesis
CitationsChurchill, V. (2012). Creating a Music Therapy Assessment Tool Specific to Persons with Severe to Profound Multiple Disabilities. [Master's Thesis].
Access StatusOpen Access
The aim of this qualitative study was the incorporation of multiple perspectives, to create a proposed formal music therapy assessment tool specific to persons with severe to profound multiple disabilities. Forty-four Registered Music Therapists (RMTs) recognised as currently working in Australia with persons with severe to profound multiple disabilities were contacted via email, asking for voluntary contributions of formal assessment tools for the purpose of this study. From this, and other previously gathered material, a total of 11 tools were collated from nine sources. These were analysed using informed analysis, a method developed by the researcher to identify patterns and areas of further interest in accordance with the first research question. Data was then creatively synthesised to form a proposed formal music therapy assessment tool specific to working with persons experiencing severe to profound multiple disabilities, answering the second research question. This was an emergent process, heavily influenced by the researcher’s own understandings and perspectives as developed through in-depth consultation of relevant literature, correspondence with RMTs, the aforementioned analysis, and prior and concurrent experience working with persons experiencing severe to profound multiple disabilities in and outside of music therapy settings. The resulting tool was a comprehensive 10 page document intended to be adaptable according to therapeutic context. However, after careful consideration, the tool was deemed by the researcher as probably less relevant to working with persons experiencing severe to profound multiple disabilities than anticipated. This may directly relate to two particular limitations of the research: the data itself, from which results of analysis and in turn the proposed tool were based; and influences of the researcher. However, this thesis does contribute to theoretical and practical music therapy knowledge in several ways. It identifies and seeks to fill current gaps in music therapy literature, and highlights further considerations around standardisation and use of formal assessment tools, in and outside of working with persons experiencing severe to profound multiple disabilities. It also suggests areas for further related research, perhaps most importantly around creation of a proposed set of guiding principles for music therapy assessment in working with persons with severe to profound multiple disabilities.
Keywordsassessment; multiple disabilities; music therapy
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