The effectiveness of music therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder: a meta-analysis

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About 1 in 68 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2015). The prevalence of ASD within the

About 1 in 68 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2015). The prevalence of ASD within the population of all people with disabilities has increased, percentage changed from 1.8% to 7.1% in ten years (NCES, 2016). Music therapy, as a therapeutic intervention, has been used for children with autism since 1940s (Reschke-Hemandez, 2011). In the past 70 years' practice, music therapy research has explored the efficacy of music therapy in improving the multiple areas of functioning affected by the symptoms of autism. However, the results are varied. The objective of this study is to investigate the efficacy of music therapy on children with autism spectrum disorder using meta-analysis as the statistical analysis methodology to synthesis the research results from all the eligible studies in the field. After a comprehensive search of the literature and screening procedure, 11 studies were finally included in the meta-analysis. The results showed a medium to large effects (d = 0.73, CI [0.43-1.03]) of music therapy interventions for children with ASD. Subgroup analysis and meta-regression analysis are conducted for further exploration within the topic.