Finding Our Voices, Singing Our Truths: Examining How Quality of Life Domains Manifested in a Singing Group for Autistic Adults
Keywords:group singing, Autistic adults, neurodiversity, quality of life, health & wellbeing, community music therapy
A growing body of literature indicates that participation in singing groups has a range of health and wellbeing benefits for the general adult population and for various adult cohorts with specific challenges/needs. However, no research had been conducted on potential benefits of group singing for Autistic adults. Furthermore, the neurodiversity movement rejects a biomedical approach to autism and champions the need for supports that will empower individuals on the autism spectrum to participate in society on their own terms. This aligns well with community music therapy (CoMT) philosophy which maintains that all persons have a right to access and participate in music experiences that promote personal health and wellbeing as well as serve as an expression of individuality, culture, and community. Therefore, the present research investigated how quality of life (QoL) variables (considered as components/determinants of health and wellbeing) manifested for eight Autistic adults who participated in 12 group singing sessions. A mixed methods concurrent transformative design was used with priority given to qualitative data. Results illustrate how subdomains contained within overarching QoL domains of Being, Belonging, and Becoming were realized by the group participants. Limitations of the study as well as implications for practice and research are presented.
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