The Urgency Of Music
Autism Research Project

Supporting Autistic children to learn & play traditional music: Documenting our Action Research Project

by Dr Jessica Cawley, Researcher, Creative Tradition Provider, Musician Educator

February 2024

In 2020, Dr Jessica Cawley started a new project to develop Creative Tradition’s programme to cater to its neurodivergent learners. As part of a special Arts Council Agility Award and Music Generation Cork City’s Community Foundation of Ireland RTÉ Toy Show Appeal action research project, Dr Cawley has developed music sessions for Autistic classes and documented outcomes for the participants. Dr Cawley describes how this experience shifted the way she approaches teaching traditional music in schools and in the community, now carving more space and time to better support learners with Autism/Autistic learners, and working more closely with families, teachers, and SNAs to identify approaches to better nurture and celebrate budding musicians.

This work took place in South Lee Educate Together (Co-educational/mixed school), St Mary’s on the Hill (Co-educational/mixed school) and Scoil Íosagáin (Boys National School).

Notes and Case Studies

These detailed notes and case studies are available here: Autism Action Research Notes.

Read the Report

Download the full "The Urgency of Music" report as a PDF


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Autism Research Project

Project Partners

Creative Tradition
Creative Tradition was established in 2013 as a non-profit organization to support people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to learn Irish traditional music. Creative Tradition believes that providing a variety of pathways into the world of traditional music is the most fun, inclusive, effective, and holistic way of passing on Irish traditional music.
Music Generation Cork City
Music Generation Cork City (MGCC) is a performance music education programme that works in partnership with community-based musicians and music organisations to bring music education into the lives of children and young people across Cork City.
Autism Research Project – Music Generation Cork City