Research with the University of Birmingham
Our team worked with Dr Lila Kossyvaki, a lecturer in Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties at the University of Birmingham, and Dr Sara Curran from Cambridge University. We conducted a research study with Cosmo and measured its impact on the engagement, emotional expression and social communication of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The study lasted five weeks and examined the interaction of five children with Cosmo. The participants were students of Hamilton School in Birmingham and are diagnosed with severe learning difficulties (P levels 1-3).
The study has been peer-reviewed and published in the Journal of Intellectual Disabilities in spring 2018. It is titled “The role of technology-mediated music-making in enhancing engagement and social communication in children with autism and intellectual disabilities”. More on the paper found here.
Scroll down to read a summary of the study.
Increased engagement in learning
Significantly increased the engagement levels of all 5 children who participated in the study.
Increased frequency & quality of communication
Improved emotional regulation
Combining music and technology
1) engagement either increased or remained high for four out of five children,
2) expression of positive emotions increased for most children,
3) social communication, especially requesting and rejecting, as well as commenting, was higher than typically expected for this cohort.
Last but not least, there was some knowledge co-production between staff and researchers like the one described in Parsons et al. (2015), and the researcher came up with some valid advantages but also challenges as a result of working in a multidisciplinary team which confirmed existing literature (Lacey, 1998; Lacey, 2012).
Corke, M. (2002) Approaches to communication through music. London: David Fulton.
Ingersoll, B. and Schreibman, L. (2006) Teaching reciprocal imitation skills to young children with autism using a naturalistic behavioral approach: effects on language, pretend play and joint attention. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36 (4): 487-505.
Lacey, P. (1998) Interdisciplinary training for staff working with people with profound and multiple learning disabilities. Journal of Interprofessional Care 12(1): 43-52.
Lacey, P. (2012) ‘Meeting complex needs through collaborative multidisciplinary teamwork’. In P. Lacey and C. Ouvry (Eds.) People with profound and multiple learning disabilities: a collaborative approach to meeting complex needs. London: Routledge (pp. ix – xvii).
MacDonald, R. A. R., Hargreaves, D. J. and Miell, D. (eds.) (2002) Musical identities. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Methley, A. and Wimpory, D. (2010) Music interaction therapy for children with autism. [DVD]. Bangor: Bangor University.
Murray, D. K. C. (1997) Autism and Information Technology: Therapy with Computers. In: Jordan, R. (ed.) and Powell, S. (ed.) Autism and Learning. London: David Fulton Publishers.
Nind, M. and Hewett, D. (2001) A Practical guide to intensive interaction. Kidderminster, Worcestershire: BILD Publications.
Parsons, S., Guldberg, K., Porayska-Pomsta, K. and Lee, R. (2015) Digital stories as a method for evidence-based practice and knowledge co-creation in technology-enhanced learning for children with autism. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 38(3): 247-271.
Reason, P. and Bradbury, H. (2001) “Introduction: inquiry and participation in search of a world worthy of human aspiration”. In: Reason, P. and Bradbury, H. (eds.) Handbook of action research: participative enquiry and practice. London: SAGE Publications. pp. 1-14.