School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Stanley Harris


UDL, Quaver Curriculum, Autism




The prevalence of students with autism is rising in elementary schools across the United States. General music teachers have been tasked with including students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the elementary music classroom but have had minimal training on the topic. This educational applied research study measured the perceived effectiveness of applying universal design of learning principles (UDL) to Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music curriculum to increase the engagement of students with ASD in elementary music classrooms. Directed by Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligence, this applied research study produced quantitative data showing increased engagement using UDL with Quaver’s curriculum and qualitative data from personal interviews with music educators that UDL promotes engagement, expression, and inclusion. Perspectives on positive outcomes in communication, social interactions, and joint attention growth of students with ASD participating in music education emerged through exploring literature, personal interviews, and quantitative data. The data showed the strengths and weaknesses of applying UDL to Quaver’s curriculum. Largely, the study demonstrated that applying UDL to Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music curriculum created an inclusive classroom environment for students with ASD. The results of this study showed a perceived increase in positive engagement, social skills, communication, and joint attention among students with ASD in the music classroom. The study benefited general music teachers by showing the effectiveness of applying UDL to Quaver’s curriculum.

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