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What is Melodic Based Communication Therapy?

Posted on October 1, 2017 at 6:50 PM

Have you ever noticed a nonverbal child with autism humming or singing even in the presence of severe speech and language delays?  Did you know many children with autism have been shown to have "perfect" or "absolute" pitch?  Melodic Based Communication Therapy is used to shape these vocalizations into spoken/meaningful words.  See the blog post on evidence to learn more.

What is Melodic Based Communication Therapy?

Melodic Based Communication Therapy (M.B.C.T.) is an evidence based intervention designed by a speech-language pathologist to help caregivers and therapists assist nonverbal and low verbal children (less than 10 words) with autism learn to speak. Also known as M.B.C.T., the approach is designed to make use of the musical strengths of the child with autism in order to increase verbal output.  


M.B.C.T. differs from other music therapies in that it uses a standard melody for each target word. Standardization of the melody is made possible by use of a pre-recorded melody. Each melody is specific to its target word and differs significantly from the other melodies.  Melodies for Level 1 and 2 of the approach follow the rule of one note per syllable.  Caregivers and therapists may also record their own melodies following this rule.  The approach also makes use of motor imitation and successive approximation of vocalizations to shape the target word.


M.B.C.T. is not meant to be used in isolation.  It is meant to be used as part of a standard care approach for the nonverbal child with autism.  



Categories: What is Melodic Based Communication Therapy (M.B.C.T.)?