In our Mindfulness-Based Music and Songwriting study, caregivers/parents of children with developmental disabilities learned and applied mindfulness principles through the practice of creating original songs about their children and themselves. Songwriting focused on applying mindfulness principles such as paying attention without judgment and loving kindness.
Loving Kindness involves unconditional kindness or warmth toward ourselves and toward others. We are often able to recognize loving kindness for others; it it just as important to practice it toward ourselves. Loving Kindness phrases can serve as anchors for our awareness, providing a focus for what we need to hear or recognize in that moment. Listen to the Loving Kindness Song:
Integrated recreational programs designed to support neurodiverse children and their families are important vehicles for community participation. In this mixed-methods study, we investigated the mechanisms by which parent-child music classes for autistic and neurotypical children can support community participation. Parents of autistic (n=33) and typically developing (TD; n=28) preschoolers were interviewed about their expectations for and experiences of participating in a 12-week psychoeducational parent-child music program.
Providing natural opportunities that scaffold interpersonal engagement is important for supporting social interactions for young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Musical activities are often motivating, familiar, and predictable, and may support both children and their interaction partners by providing opportunities for shared social engagement.
Families with young children with and without developmental disabilities often engage in musical experiences in the home. These parent-child musical activities are associated with positive outcomes for children and parents andmay be a context to help foster strong parent-child relationships. However, little is known about how musical experiences differ across diagnostic groups or their relevance to parent-child attachment.
Is engaging with music good for your mental health? This question has long been the topic of empirical clinical and nonclinical investigations, with studies indicating positive associations between music engagement and quality of life, reduced depression or anxiety symptoms, and less frequent substance use. However, many earlier investigations were limited by small populations and methodological limitations, and it has also been suggested that aspects of music engagement may even be associated with worse mental health outcomes.
The Virtual Mindfulness-Based Music and Songwriting Program (MBMS) is a research study opportunity for parents of children with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Parents participate in an 8-week online mindfulness-based music and songwriting program to reduce stress and promote well-being. No music or songwriting training is needed to participate in this study. Parents learn and apply mindfulness principles through music-based meditations and songwriting.
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of families in the United States and across the world, impacting parent mental health and stress, and in turn, the parent-child relationship. Music is a common parent-child activity and has been found to positively impact relationships, but little is known about music’s role in parent-child interactions during a pandemic.
Opportunities for meaningful community participation may influence the development and well-being of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families as well as impact how community members perceive and understand ASD. In the current study, we aimed to understand how a parent-child integrated music class program could be used to promote community participation and family well-being.