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Music Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorder

About this AMTA Strategic Priority

The Strategic Priority on Music Therapy and ASD focuses its efforts on three areas:

  1. Awareness and Recognition: This strategic area concerns itself with public education on the role and contributions of Board Certified Music Therapists in the treatment of persons with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This includes education and awareness of the music therapist’s role in collaborative interdisciplinary teams treating persons with ASD.
  2. Training and Professional Development: This strategic area focuses on advancing tools and resources regarding training qualified music therapists for the planning and delivery of effective, valid, and reliable music therapy interventions.
  3. Evidence-Based Practice and Research: This strategic area focuses on advancement, dissemination, and translation to practice of the best available evidence from the research literature on music therapy and music-based interventions for persons with ASD.

These strategic focus areas emerged following a strategic analysis by an ad hoc workgroup charged by the Board of Directors of the American Music Therapy Association. The workgroup, established in 2008  and originally called the Autism Task Force/Think Tank, has evolved to consist of a formalized leadership team under the direction of recognized subject matter experts. The activities of the Strategic Priority on Music Therapy and ASD are led by a steering committee directed by Co-Chairs, Todd Schwartzberg and Dr. Jennifer Whipple. An Advisory Team of music therapy clinicians, educators, and researchers who represent various perspectives, approaches, client age range, and geographic areas contribute with their specific areas of expertise.

This website area offers AMTA members and the general public a variety of resources. Stay tuned as we develop more valuable resources for you. Follow us on Facebook (AMTA Strategic Priority on MT and ASD) and Twitter (#MTASD) for updates.

Fact Sheets/Research/Bibliographies

Reports and Resources


  • Autism Speaks and Sings - One of the tasks of AMTA’s Strategic Priority Workgroup was the development of partnerships with other organizations related to autism.  Presenters Marcia Humpal and Dr. Darcy Walworth, co‚Äźchairs of AMTA’s ASD Workgroup were privileged to be a part of the first Autism Speaks and Sings event, coordinated by Dr. Suzanne Hanser, Berklee College of Music, and New England Autism Speaks on October 5, 2011. As part of the Strategic Priority on ASD’s focus area of Awareness and Recognition, prototypes of 1) the Power Point based on the 2011 presentation and 2) an outlined guideline for replicating the presentation are being provided to AMTA members. We invite you to adapt the presentation to apply to specific needs of organizations or interested parties who could benefit from learning more about music therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorder.  This presentation including the Overview/Presenter's outline as well as the PowerPoint Presentation Prototype may be accessed by current AMTA members in the Member Toolkit. Simply scroll down to the "Music Therapy Practice" section, and click on the links to download the .pdf and PowerPoint documents.


Virtual Issue of Current Articles on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Music Therapy in Honor of Autism Awareness Month

Read a selection of articles from Journal of Music Therapy and Music Therapy Perspectives assembled into a virtual issue in recognition of National Autism Awareness Month in the United States.

Music Therapy Perspectives and Journal of Music Therapy are official publications of the American Music Therapy Association and published in cooperation with Oxford University Press.


Steering Committee
  • Todd Schwartzberg
  • Jennifer Whipple
  • Barbara Else, ex officio
Advisory Board
  • Jackie Birnbaum
  • Laura Brown
  • Casey DePriest
  • Jennifer Gossett
  • Eugenia Hernandez
  • Ronna Kaplan
  • Cathy Knoll
  • Nicole Rivera
  • Ericha Rupp
  • CJ Shiloh
  • Rebecca West