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Assessing Music Preferences of Persons with Severe Disabilities

John Dattilo


The purpose of this investigation was to demonstrate the application of a computerized assessment procedure designed for detennining the leisure preferences of persons with severe disabilities. Three children with severe disabilities enrolled in a local public school served as subjects in this investigation. The experimental apparatus consisted of a microcomputer and a computer program designed to determine subjects' music preferences (classic, pop, Christmas, and rock). A multiple treatment design across six separate conditions with three subjects was used. Each of the conditions provided subjects with a choice between two of the four types ofmusic. The investigation was divided into phases. The first phase used computer-generated music. To determine the accuracy of the results, a second phase, identical to the first, used music produced from cassette recordings. The data obtained from the computerized assessment procedure revealed idiosyncratic preference patterns for the three subjects. The results of the investigation demonstrated that preferences of people with severe disabilities can be systematically assessed and analyzed.


Choice, Preferences, Therapeutic Recreation, Mental Retardation, Severe Disabilities

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