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Using Music Therapy Principles to Enhance Physical Activity Participation In Children and Adolescents With Disabilities

Shannon T. Dieringer
Ball State University
David Porretta
The Ohio State University
Eric Gumm
Denton Independent School District, Denton, TX


While physical activity practitioners of children and adolescents with disabilities often use music in conjunction with activities, many may not fully understand the principles of music relative to learning and performance. This article provides information regarding music therapy principles with application to physical activity. Improvisational, creative, re-creative and receptive principles are presented with examples. The principles are designed to guide practitioners when using music in physical activity settings, especially for children with disabilities (e.g., learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders (ASD)) who often times exhibit disruptive, off-task, and/or hyperactive behaviors that interfere with learning and performance. 

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