The use of music in intervention for primary school aged children with specific language impairment

Catherine Wilmot

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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This study examined the use of music as an intervention tool with primary school aged children with Specific Language Impairment, specifically in the linguistic areas of semantics, pragmatics and oral narrative. As teachers and speech pathologists have the most professional contact with children with language impairment, they would benefit from access to suitable music activities. As it cannot be assumed that they have musical training, activities must be designed to be easy to use and adapt. The main aims of the study were (1) to determine whether a range of music activities designed to teach specific language skills were suitable for language intervention programmes, and (2) to ascertain the extent to which teachers and speech pathologists could use these activities (and similar activities) in language intervention. A preliminary survey of Grade Two teachers in Language Development Centres (LDCs) in Perth, Western Australia provided the basis for specific skills to be targeted. Music activities were designed and implemented with a Grade Two class in a Language Development Centre. Four of the students were selected as case studies in order to evaluate the impact of the activities. The classroom teacher was also studied as a case example to determine the usefulness of the activities for professionals with no musical training. Additionally, surveys of teachers in LDCs and speech pathologists (both public facilities and private practice) working with children in the Perth metropolitan region were conducted. Evaluations by the researcher, classroom teacher, a speech pathologist and the four student case studies indicated that the activities designed in this study addressed the specific language goals appropriately, were suitable for use with groups, and that the students were learning and developing the targeted language skills. In addition, the activities were suitable for use by professionals with little musical background, and were perceived by the teacher to be adaptable for different skill levels and age groups. This suggests that music can be effectively used in semantic, pragmatic and oral narrative intervention for primary school aged children with specific language impairment.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2001


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