The impact of music therapy on children with Dravet Syndrome

Lead researcher: Leanne O’Keeffe, Arts Therapist

Start date: October 2022

The aim of this research is to explore the effect of music therapy as a psychological and therapeutic intervention to support behaviours that challenge for children with Dravet syndrome. As medical research has advanced seizure severity for many people with Dravet syndrome has improved. However, this has then highlighted the impact of additional comorbidities on the lives of both the patient and their family. 

This study focuses on behaviours that challenge, as these are an under-researched area for children with Developmental and Epileptic Encephalopathies (DEE’s) including Dravet syndrome, particularly relating to therapeutic support and non-medicinal treatment. 

Much literature exists to show that children and adults with Dravet syndrome experience difficulties in addition to their seizures however, the application of therapy to explore and address comorbidities has been minimal. The research question for this study is: ‘What is the effect of music therapy on behaviours that challenge for children with Dravet syndrome?’. To answer, there will be an exploration into how music therapy has previously been used to address behaviours that challenge and what the current behaviours that challenge are for this population. 

Interest for this area of study emerged from two routes, clinical practice as a music therapist and personal motivation through first-hand experience of the syndrome. This study hopes to provide evidence of the effectiveness of music therapy on a coexisting concern with the expectation that it addresses a knowledge gap, encourages future funding in this area and changes the way support is reviewed and provided for this population.