Using Sounds of Intent (SOI) to evaluate the impact of music therapy on girls with Rett Syndrome — Ana Rita Maia & José Morgado

Τεύχος 13 (2) 2021 – Article (first published on 30 January 2020)

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Using Sounds of Intent (SOI) to evaluate the impact of music therapy on girls with Rett Syndrome

Ana Rita Maia & José Morgado


In this article, we discuss the importance of music therapy in the development and evaluation of skills in girls with Rett Syndrome. The intention of this study was to collect and analyse data in order to empirically contribute to a mapping of the individual sound-musical development profile of girls with Rett syndrome. The study proceeded with the translation, adaptation, and implementation in the Portuguese context, of a specific music programme, Sounds of Intent (SOI). It was intended to measure target distal, proximal, cognitive and emotional behaviours in girls with Rett syndrome. Longitudinal action research with multiple case-study methodology was carried out, assuming a qualitative nature. This article is focused on the two Rett syndrome case studies that were part of a larger sample with multiple diagnoses. An instrument for data collection was also used, namely matrices of development designed to evaluate this type of intervention and documental analysis process. The results suggest that it is possible to systematically observe and evaluate the development of girls with Rett syndrome over a given period of time through the manifestation of sound-musical behaviour using a programme such as SOI. The data collected through the grid and the concentric profile of the subjects demonstrated a wide variety of sound-musical manifestations throughout the intervention period. Both girls demonstrated different levels of progress with regard to their musical behaviours. The data analysis demonstrated that there was regression and development in the sound-musical behaviours of the clients, both clients showed consistency and high level of involvement during the sessions, sound-musical behaviours have been revealed mostly in the interactive domain and the sound-musical behaviours observed developed towards more complex musical behaviours over time.


music therapy, Rett syndrome, action research, case study


Ana Rita Maia has a master’s in music therapy from Universidade Lusíada de Lisboa. She has worked as a music therapist in school, institutional, residential, community and hospital contexts, in the field of dementia, with mental health population, institutionalised teenagers, special needs, multi-disabled teenagers and children, and in early intervention. She has a PhD in educational sciences with a specialisation in special needs from FCT, Universidade Nova de Lisboa e ISPA. [] José Morgado has a doctorate degree in child studies – special educational needs – from the University of Minho (2003) and is currently Assistant Professor at ISPA – University Institute of Psychological, Social and Life Sciences. []