South African Medical Journal

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The Effects of Music Therapy on a Group of Institutionalised Mentally Retarded Boys

E Thomas, NS Egnal, F van Eeden, A Bond


A sample group of 9 profoundly or severely mentally retarded boys was chosen. Their intelligence quotients were estimated at an average of 26, their mean chronological age at the beginning of the experiment was 11 years 10 months, and mean estimated mental age 2 years 4 months. The mean time they had spent in the institution was 4 years 10 months. The behaviour of the boys was such that they could be present in a group of 4 or 5 without disrupting the group. Music therapy in listening to music, participation by unpacking, playing and packing musical instruments away, and by walking to music, was given to small groups for half-an-hour per group, or to individuals for 7 to 10 minutes bi-weekly for 11% weeks. Tests were conducted before and after the treatment, at an interval of exactly 3 calendar months apart. Significant improvements in social quotients, where social age was measured on the Vineland Social Maturity Scale, and in fine rr.otor control, were observed.

S. Afr. Med. J., 48, 1723 (1974).

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