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Children with autism are less engaged with social and non-social objects and activities than their typically developing peers, resulting in reduced learning opportunities. There is some support for the use of music to enhance the engagement of children with autism but there has been little research investigating the use of music to engage children in language learning tasks and determining if this impacts on learning outcomes. This study investigated the use of music to engage children with autism in a receptive labelling intervention. Twenty two children (mean age 5.9 yrs) participated in a randomised controlled cross-over design comparing sung and spoken conditions embedded into a computer based intervention. Child performance and observational data were analysed to determine relationships between music, engagement and learning outcomes. The findings from this research showed children with autism were more engaged in the sung condition compared to the spoken condition although there was considerable variability in levels of engagement between participants. Furthermore, a correlation between engagement and learning was found. Implications of these findings are discussed and recommendations made for future research.


School of Education

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Journal Article

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