Abstract：Objective To study the effect of parent-child cooperative music therapy on the core symptoms of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their mothers. Methods In this prospective study, 112 children with ASD and their mothers were divided into a music therapy group and an applied behavior analysis (ABA) group using a random number table (n=56 each). The children in the ABA group were treated with ABA, and those in the music therapy group were given parent-child cooperative music therapy in addition to the ABA treatment. The duration of intervention was 8 weeks for both groups. Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), Autism Behavior Checklist (ABC), Parenting Stress Index-Short form (PSI-SF), Family APGAR Index, and Herth Hope Index (HHI) were used to evaluate the core symptoms of children with ASD and the parenting stress, family APGAR index, and hope level of mothers before and after intervention. Results A total of 100 child-mother dyads completed the whole study, with 50 child-mother dyads in each group. After intervention, the children in the music therapy group had significantly lower total score of ABC scale and scores of sensation, social interaction, and somatic movement, as well as a significantly lower total score of CARS than those in the ABA group (P<0.05). After intervention, compared with the mothers in the ABA group, the mothers in the music therapy group had significantly higher total score of PSI-SF and score of parent-child dysfunctional interaction, significantly higher total score of HHI and scores of each dimension, and significantly higher total score of APGAR and scores of cooperation and intimacy (P<0.05). Conclusions Parent-child cooperative music therapy combined with ABA can alleviate the core symptoms of children with ASD, reduce the parenting stress of their mothers, and improve family APGAR index and hope level.
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