Able-diverse music therapy: Toward a new model of disability and music therapy



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Because many if not most of the clients of the music therapy profession are disabled, it is incumbent on the music therapy profession to find best practices in the service of disabled people. Much of the music therapy profession, however, remains involved with the medical model of disability which locates disability in the individual and pathologizes bodily differences and abilities. This is at odds with the field of disabilities studies and what it calls the social model of disability. This thesis proposes to square the music therapy profession more closely with a disability studies model in creating what it calls able-diverse music therapy. Able-diverse music therapy is the result of several alignments and sub-alignments of existing scholarship, synthesized to create a new model of music therapy. Able-diverse music therapy is defined by the present author as music therapy that seeks musicking, community building (in a multicultural manner whenever possible), and social justice for people with socially constructed developmental differences in ability that should be recognized and respected as any other human variation.



Music therapy, Disability studies, Disability