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A Motor Behavioral Evaluation Method for Children with Developmental Disorders during Music Therapy Sessions: A Pilot Study.

Background: Although music therapy has long been recognized as an effective treatment for children with developmental disorders, evaluation of their motor behavior during therapy sessions has always depended on subjective and qualitative methods. Additionally, music therapists may face difficulties in conveying opinions based on observations conducted in therapy sessions to parents due to a wide disparity in the characteristics of children’s behavior in different circumstances.

Objective: This pilot study was conducted to examine a computer-aided evaluation method for music therapy involving the use of video cameras and several sensors. The system is used to evaluate gross motor function and response to instructions from a therapist.

Methods: The experiments performed included a hand bell-playing task and several nonmusical tasks, such as preparation of the hand bells and returning the bells to the storage box. The evaluation indices were (1) the strength of wrist-jerk movements, (2) the time of response to instructions for musical performance from the therapist, and (3) the time taken to perform non-musical tasks. Work was performed to clarify the correlation between the results of evaluation with the proposed method and those of an inquiry-based approach called the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA), which is a standard screening method for developmental disorders.

Results: The results from the proposed system were more consistent with ASEBA results collected from therapists than with those collected from parents.

Conclusion: This indicates that the method can be used as a tool for conveying therapists’ opinions to parents using the evaluated indices as objective evidence.

Author(s): Zu Soh, Ryo Migita, Kayoko Takahashi, Koji Shimatani, Hideaki Hayashi, Yuichi Kurita, Toshio Tsuji