Scientific article

Piano with a twist: A pilot study exploring the preliminary effects of a piano therapy program for children with autism spectrum disorder

Published inThe Arts in Psychotherapy, vol. 82, 101987
Publication date2023-02
First online date2022-11-28

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show frequent maladaptive behaviors and difficulties in social communication and motricity. Various studies suggest that music-based interventions might help overcome these challenges. Yet, their findings are not conclusive, particularly regarding piano music. The current pilot study aims to present a new music-based intervention – the Piano Therapy program – and to explore its effects on social communication, motricity, self-care, and adaptive behavior skills in children with ASD. The program uses techniques derived from Applied Behavioral Analysis and active and receptive musical methods structured around a single instrument (i.e., piano). Sixty children with ASD were quasi-randomly assigned either to the Piano Therapy group or the control group. In the experimental group, the 4-month program was administered individually, twice a week. Using the Psychoeducational Profile - Third Edition (PEP-3) reports, the examiner and the caregivers assessed participants’ skills pre- and post-intervention. The findings indicate that the children enrolled in the Piano Therapy program show significant improvements in all the developmental areas assessed with PEP-3, compared to the control group. Although further research is required, these preliminary results have clinical implications for practitioners and bring new evidence about the beneficial effects of a piano-based intervention in individuals with ASD.

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Piano therapy
  • Music-based intervention
  • Communication skills
  • Adaptative behavior
  • Motricity
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
DĂNCIULESCU, Tatiana, ZAHARIA, Alexandra. Piano with a twist: A pilot study exploring the preliminary effects of a piano therapy program for children with autism spectrum disorder. In: The Arts in Psychotherapy, 2023, vol. 82, p. 101987. doi: 10.1016/j.aip.2022.101987
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0197-4556

Technical informations

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