Music therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorder

a neuroscience informed rationale for clinical practice



Music Therapy Clinical Rationale, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Neurosciences, Musical Interaction, Musical Communication


In the last years, many studies in neurosciences aimed at understanding how the nervous system is structured, how it works in people with typical and atypical global development, and how music is processed as perceived stimulus and action in the word. The integration of this knowledge in music therapy clinical practice may provide new explanations about the path in which the therapeutic use of music improves health as well as assist the development of new clinical approaches for treatment, assessment and evaluation. This article presents a neuroscience rationale of a music therapy clinical practice with focus on nonverbal communication and social interaction for children and teenagers with Autism Spectrum Disorder.


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Author Biographies

Renato Tocantins Sampaio, Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil)

Renato Tocantins Sampaio is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Instruments and Singing of the School of Music - UFMG and a Researcher with CNPq's PQ Level 2 Scholarship. He has a degree in Music Therapy and Music (undergraduate) and is pursuing his PhD in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at UFMG. Coordinator of the Music Therapy Clinic Extension Project at UFMG that provides music therapy services to people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disorders.

Cybelle Maria Veiga Loureiro, Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil)

Bacharel in Music and in Music Therapy - University of Iowa (1991); Master in Music Education-School of Music - UFMG (2005); Doctorate in Medicine - Faculdade de Medicina-UFMG (2009); Representative of Latin America at the World Music Therapy Federation-WFMT (2009-2014); Member of the Commission on Training and Clinics at WFMT (2014); Professor of Music Therapy at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (2009), Director of Bachelor of Music Therapy Program (2009); Collaborating Professor at Post graduation program (PPG) in Neurosciences - ICB-UFMG research line: neurosciences, music and arts (2011); Permanent Professor of the PPG in Music - EM-UFMG (2011) area of Sonology. Experience in Music, Music Therapy. Acting mainly in the following areas: neurological music therapy; special musical education; cerebral palsy; physical disability; West syndrome; multiple sclerosis; optic neuritis; neuromyelitis; neonatology; neurodevelopmental disorders; Parkinson; Alzheimer; and Semantic Dementia.

Cristiano Mauro Assis Gomes, Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil)

Cristiano Mauro Assis Gomes is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology of FAFICH-UFMG and is a Productivity Fellow Level 2 - CNPQ. He has a degree in Psychology and a PhD in Education (UFMG). Coordinator of the Laboratory for the Investigation of Cognitive Architecture (LAICO) at UFMG. He is a professor in the Post-Graduation Programs in Psychology and Neurosciences at UFMG.


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How to Cite

Sampaio, Renato Tocantins, Cybelle Maria Veiga Loureiro, and Cristiano Mauro Assis Gomes. 2015. “Music Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorder : A Neuroscience Informed Rationale for Clinical Practice”. Per Musi, no. 32 (November):1-34.



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