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Evaluation of the Use of Real-time 3D Graphics to Augment Therapeutic Music Sessions for Young People on the Autism Spectrum

Mcgowan, John J.; Mcgregor, Iain; Leplatre, Gregory


Gregory Leplatre


The present research evaluates the effectiveness of CymaSense, a real-time 3D visualisation application developed by the authors, as a means of improving the communicative behaviours of autistic participants through the addition of a visual modality within therapeutic music sessions. Autism spectrum condition (ASC) is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect people in a number of ways, commonly through difficulties in communication. A multi-sensory approach within music sessions encourages people with ASC to engage more with the act of creating music, and with the therapists, increasing their level of communication and social interaction beyond the sessions.

This article presents a study evaluating the use of CymaSense within a series of therapeutic music sessions, and a follow-up series of semi-structured interviews. Eight adults with ASC participated in 12 sessions using a single case experimental design approach over a total period of 19 weeks. Using qualitative and quantitative data, the results show an increase in communicative behaviour, for both verbal and non-verbal participants, resulting from the use of CymaSense. Qualitative feedback from interviews provided insight into the factors that contribute to the successful use of the application, as well as aspects that could be improved.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 1, 2020
Online Publication Date Mar 22, 2021
Publication Date 2021-04
Deposit Date May 28, 2021
Publicly Available Date May 28, 2021
Journal ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing
Print ISSN 1936-7228
Electronic ISSN 1936-7236
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 1
Article Number 2
Keywords assistive technologies, sound visualisation, Autism, music therapy, multi-sensory environments, interactive audio-visual, cymatics
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Evaluation Of The Use Of Real-time 3D Graphics To Augment Therapeutic Music Sessions For Young People On The Autism Spectrum (accepted version) (1.3 Mb)

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