Vanderbilt researchers are seeking Latino families to learn more about COVID-19’s effects on family relations and how music plays a part in the development of young children, especially those on the autism spectrum.
COVID-19 created a unique situation for families having to deal with quarantine, and researchers believe music has been a successful coping mechanism. Keysha Martinez-Torres, a first-year Ph.D student, says this has provided an opportunity to understand Nashville’s Latino families.
“There’s not really a lot of information on Latino families and autism,” said Martinez-Torres, who seeks to adapt an ongoing Vanderbilt study for Latino clients. Vanderbilt’s Music Cognition Lab focuses on how music factors into disabilities and the well-being of parents and children. Recently published research showed how music played a part in helping children learn and found that “they’re very responsive to rhythmic input and it could increase engagement within the child and the parent,” said Martinez-Torres.
“We’re kind of merging the situation of COVID-19 with music,” she said.
Studies have shown music to be highly effective in educating children with autism, and with music being more infused in Latino cultures, “there’s a real opportunity to harness that,” said Steve Camarata, a professor in Vanderbilt’s Hearing and Speech Science Department.
“One can speculate that [music] is going to be better in Latin culture than other cultures that are not as musically attuned,” he said.
For more information, families can call 615-873-0852 or email [email protected].