Music and Autism

A B-AIR OPEN_LAB Webinar in collaboration with SiNAPSA, Slovenian Neuroscience Association

Music and Autism ENG

What can music and dance bring to people and communities? Do individuals with autism spectrum disorder perceive and respond to music in a certain way? Can we use music and dance therapies to expand the possibilities of communication?

The webinar brings into focus the work that has been done using music and movement to improve the wellbeing of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The lecturers discuss their experiences working with children with ASD and studying the effects of music, dance and specific learning methods on their social and emotional development and wellbeing.

The lecturesare given by Briana Applewhite, Dr Supritha Aithal, PhD and Katarina Kurtjak.

B-AIR joins forces with the student section of SiNAPSA, Slovenian Neuroscience Association in organising webinars for B-AIR Soundings project.

Organizational team: Brain Awareness Week, which is a part of SiNAPSA, Slovenian Neuroscience Association, in collaboration with Radio Slovenia and The B-AIR Project.

The webinar took place on the Zoom Webinar platform on Wednesday, May 31st at 6pm 2023-


Briana Applewhite

BRIANA APPLEWHITE is a DPhil student at the University of Oxford who recently published a review of the effects of music therapy for people with autism spectrum disorder.

Her research focuses on culturally competent therapeutic solutions for ethnic minority youth in the UK, namely with creative arts therapies and the exploration of these as adjunct and effective treatment methods.

She graduated with an MSc in Mental Health Studies from King’s College London with a thesis focusing on the uses of music for individuals with anorexia nervosa. In 2019, she completed a Fulbright Research award in Berlin, Germany assessing the uses of narrative therapy in Syrian refugees with PTSD. She is currently working on her PhD, which is funded by the NIHR ARC Oxford & Thames Valley.

dr. Supritha Aithal

SUPRITHA AITHAL is a researcher, lecturer and therapist, investigating the role of arts in enhancing communication and health. She investigated the contribution of dance movement psychotherapy towards the wellbeing of children with an autism spectrum disorder and their caregivers.

She is currently working as a lecturer at Edge Hill University in England, teaching at the Department of Applied Health and Social care and the Department of Creative Arts.

In 2012 she graduated from All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysuru with an integrated (research and clinical practice) dual degree called speech and hearing with the license to work with two protected health care professional titles (Audiologist and Speech & language therapist). Following this, Supritha completed a Masters degree in Indian Classical Dance and simultaneously worked as a Speech-language therapist across the hospital, mainstream and special educational needs settings with a diverse client population. With an intention to explore the benefits of arts to enhance communication and health she completed a certification course in dance movement psychotherapy.

Katarina Kurtjak

KATARINA KURTJAK is a musician, music teacher and composer with a Master's degree in Musicology. For more than 15 years she has been teaching piano, music theory and singing and organizes music workshops for preschool children. She has also been working with children with an autism spectrum disorder.
She explores new teaching methods that would make learning the piano and music itself therapeutic, more effective and more enjoyable. She also researches the impact of musical involvement on children's development and creates musical material for more enjoyable learning for both neurotypical and neurodivergent children.
She is currently employed at the School Centre Novo mesto, where she teaches music subjects at the Secondary school of Construction, Wood Technology and Pre-school Education.