Moments of shared companionship between children with visual impairment and their sighted caregivers in music: An exploratory study in Rio de Janeiro
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This Master thesis aims at developing knowledge on what music therapy can afford for children with visual impairment and their sighted caregivers in terms of bonding and early interaction. Children with visual impairment and their sighted caregivers, due to their vulnerable situation and their different perception style, often experience challenges in interaction, communication and bonding. The focus in this article-based Master thesis is on how musical interaction can contribute to bonding and early interaction. The study aims to give answers to the following research question: “What can joint music making afford children with visual impairment and their caregivers in terms of bonding and social interaction?” A qualitative, exploratory study in which children with visual impairment (aged 1 to 4) and their caregivers participated in music therapy sessions over 10 weeks was conducted in a pedagogical institution for people with visual impairment. Data has been collected by participant observation, field notes, video recordings and interviews. Moments of positive interactions in music were selected and analyzed and the selections were triangulated by interviews with caregivers. The data-material indicates that music therapy promotes positive bonding patterns and enhances early interaction by providing experiences of togetherness, joint attention and happiness. Musical interaction seems to facilitate elements of early interaction that can be challenging for children with visual impairment and their sighted caregivers. This thesis discusses the findings in the broader perspective of disability studies and community music therapy and argues that music therapy promotes positive interactions and empowerment of children with visual impairment and their caregivers.