Music and dance enhance social interaction and task engagement in autistic young pupils and their peers in mainstream schools

Athina Stamou, Arielle Bonneville Roussy, Adam Ockelford, Lorella Terzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A growing number of autistic pupils attend mainstream schools which raises questions around their educational and social inclusion. The current study explored the benefits of participating in a novel music and dance programme for autistic children and their peers, aged 5–8 years. It sought to discover whether music and dance tasks can be memorable and motivating, thus promoting active engagement and social inclusion among the pupils. A total of 42 pupils (seven autistic), in seven groups, took part in the 6‐week programme. Repetition of task and pre and post observation checklists, completed by the class teachers, were used. Video observation facilitated the collection of data and analysis of the repetition of task. Music was found to be a positive cue for pupils to remember and perform the tasks, thus enhancing their engagement and inclusion in the group. The activities also offered opportunities for interaction, promoting co‐operation and inclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-463
Number of pages14
JournalSupport for Learning
Issue number3
Early online date12 Sept 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Sept 2022


  • Original Article
  • Original Articles
  • music
  • dance
  • autism
  • inclusion
  • engagement

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