Using musical play with children with profound and multiple learning disabilities at school

Rosie Rushton, Lila Kossyvaki

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We all ‘play’ music! Play experiences for children with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) are often compromised, lost in complex care routines, increasingly stretched timetables and a lack of suitable play interventions. This study investigates combining music with play, using a set of guidelines and principles, developed by the researcher and staff participants, Musical Play. It evaluates the impact Musical Play has on the play experiences of both the learners and staff. This study included five primary-aged children and four teaching staff, during a five week implementation period in a UK Special School. The study collected multiple data sources to evaluate the impact of the intervention. Results revealed that Musical Play elicited engaged, playful and creative responses, encouraging peer-awareness and interactions. The intervention allowed staff a sense of freedom from target-driven work, providing a unique opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the play experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-509
JournalBritish Journal of Special Education
Issue number4
Early online date6 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Oct 2020


  • Music
  • PMLD
  • Profound Disability


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