Music Therapy Interventions That Incorporate Augmentative and Alternative Communication: A Survey Study

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Voris, Chloe White
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
Many music therapists work with individuals who have complex communication needs and may utilize different types of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). However, formal AAC training and education is not a common part of music therapy undergraduate education. The purpose of this quantitative survey study was to gather information about music therapists’ experience with learning and using different types of AAC in sessions and examine the types of music interventions therapists use that incorporate AAC. Fifty-five music therapists participated in the survey reporting on their professional experience, AAC learning/training opportunities, ways they incorporate aided and unaided AAC in sessions, and self-confidence when utilizing AAC. Following data collection, the results revealed that music therapists working with individuals who utilize AAC are incorporating both aided and unaided AAC into sessions in diverse ways, despite a lack of formal training in most cases. Many music therapists are gaining knowledge about AAC and its uses through experience and collaborating with other interdisciplinary professionals, such as speech-language pathologists (SLPs). However, additional training and education would be beneficial to increase competency and efficacy. Furthermore, additional research is recommended regarding specific music therapy interventions used with various types of AAC systems to further music therapists’ knowledge and practical use of AAC in sessions.