Zoe Strong: Music, Autism and Church

REF 2021

1st in the UK

Divinity at the University of Aberdeen was ranked 1st in the UK for overall quality of research

Zoe Strong: Music, Autism and Church

The Christian church is a place where everyone, including people with autism, should be seen as valuable and essential to the community. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In the church, there are many different sensory stimulations, and this often causes people with autism to struggle. Music is a fundamental part of church services as it is a way in which people worship God in a community. Additionally, music therapy has often been seen to benefit those with autism as it can be a form of communicating emotion where words are not necessary. With both of these functions of music in mind, I want to explore how people with autism experience music in church.

My research will consider the role of music for those with autism in engaging with spirituality and if music is a vehicle by which a person with autism might grow in their faith and relationships with others. I hope to find out what a person with autism may be able to teach the Christian community about music in places of public worship. In order to explore this, I will interview people in Scotland living with autism, who attend or have previously attended church, about their experiences of music in church.