Karen Twyford and Samantha Watters

In the Groove: An Evaluation to Explore a Joint Music Therapy and Occupational Therapy Intervention for Children with Acquired Brain Injury

Karen Twyford, Samantha Watters


An acquired brain injury in children disrupts brain development and neural pathways, which may have serious implications on occupational role performance. Assessment and management of children with neurological disorders is complex and treatment requires the engagement of a multidisciplinary team. Increasing evidence indicates that both occupational therapists and music therapists work effectively towards similar goals with children with acquired brain injury. This evaluation investigated the effectiveness of a joint music therapy and occupational therapy group in promoting the development of self-regulation skills in children with an acquired brain injury or neurological condition, as part of a pilot project at a regional paediatric hospital in Australia. Six participants, aged five and half to ten years, were recruited through the acquired brain injury and neurology outpatient service at a regional paediatric hospital. Children underwent occupational therapy assessment and were identified to have sensory processing difficulties that negatively impacted on the child’s occupational roles of "friend" and "student." The intervention group, In the Groove, received seven, weekly, one-hour sessions, held for one hour on a weekly basis. Each session involved a variety of joint music therapy and occupational therapy activities, specifically planned to achieve intervention goals. A range of standardised occupational therapy and music therapy outcome measures were used, as well as non-standardised measures. All children received positive outcomes following intervention for at least one outcome measure. The findings indicate that joint music therapy and occupational therapy intervention may provide children with acquired brain injury and neurological impairment opportunities to develop self-regulation skills.


music therapy; occupational therapy; acquired brain injury; sensory processing; group intervention; cognitive rehabilitation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15845/voices.v16i1.851


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