When Teaching Students on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, a Little Flexibility Really Helps

by Peter
(Australia)

I run a private teaching studio with an average of between 10 to 15 high-functioning autism spectrum children having lessons each week. Most are boys in the age range of 7 to 11 years.


Some weeks we find a particular student may be non-focused and when this occurs we use music games, such as spelling words with notes and then playing the word. The website MakingMusicFun has a host of great printable worksheets for this sort of situation.

The other factors we have found to increase focus and motivation are:

Electronic keyboard, not piano ( many of these children find a piano is far too loud) is used for their lesson- the keyboard is never set above half volume.

Reduced lighting --- lighting in their studio is reduced by half.

The Progressive range of instruction books are used. Notes are large, and have the name of the note in the middle of the note.

The parent and or siblings need to be out of the room, I find, otherwise almost no progress is made.

Some children choose guitar as an instrument, and in most cases are not successful. Keyboard, however, has a very high rate of success, and some of the children we teach are brilliant musicians.

Australian music teachers should check out ASPECT, a government organization which is very supportive of private teachers working in this field.

Dana:

Peter, this is great information. Thanks so much for this helpful advice.

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