The Impact of Music Therapy and Social Skills in Special Education

Ann Petty, MT-BC
Ann Petty

Music therapy’s role to promote social skills and engagement during learning experiences in special education has changed due to Covid-19. This presentation will discuss various formats and interventions used to support change and progress with social and communication goals in inclusive and self-contained classrooms. The role of teachers, support personnel, and parents will also be explored to discuss their changing role in collaborating with music therapists during the learning process. Examples will be given of experiences in former and present learning opportunities related to Covid-19.

Presentation Description:

As Covid-19 has changed the role of providing music therapy services to students in special education public school classrooms, the role of music to organize and motivate a student’s ability to engage remains part of the learning process. This lecture presentation will discuss the role of music before and during Covid-19 to support social and communication skills. Examples and demonstrations of specific goals for inclusive and self-contained special education students in the classroom with be provided. The progression of the collaborative role of teachers, support personnel, and parents in a virtual and classroom format will be discussed. The role of music and its impact on attaining progress towards social and communication goals will also be addressed. This presentation will discuss the challenge of sustaining interaction in the music process by maintaining quality interventions and engaging students. Suggestions for this will be given as well as discussing opportunities for collaboration.

Learner Objectives:

  • Utilize consistent interactions that promote a sense of safety and security. (CBMT Domain I. 10.)
  • Provide individual music therapy experiences to address client’s language skills. (CBMT Domain
  • To achieve therapeutic goals to utilize creativity and flexibility in meeting client’s changing needs. (CBMT Domain
  • Provide individualized music therapy experiences to address client’s attention (i.e. focused, sustained, selective, alternating, divided). (CBMT Domain III. A.2.L.)


Target Audience:

Students, Entry-level professionals, Experienced professionals

Presenter Biography:

Ann Petty, MT-BC is a board- certified music therapist who works for an educational agency in the southwestern region of the U.S. in a public -school district in Northwest Houston, Texas. She received her bachelor’s in music education from the University of North Texas and an Equivalency in music therapy from the university of Kansas. She also maintains a community – based practice, working with young adults and adolescents with autism and intellectual disabilities.