Where to Find A Good Teacher for My Autistic Son?

by Karin
(Canada)

I am searching for a good teacher for my child, recently diagnosed Autistic at age nine. He has been learning to play piano for the past four years and encountered some problems in his progress.


Dana replies: I wish I could help you, but I don't know of any list of teachers specially qualified to teach autistic children.

However, I was interested to see a recent posting in a forum I watch at Pianoteaching.com, and I will give you the link:

http://pianoteaching.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=43201&Searchpage=1&Main=2436&Words=autistic&Search=true# Post43201

I have looked at the links posted on this thread, but didn't find them very helpful at the time. There appears to be a course called "Innovative Piano" written with special-needs students in mind, but I would have to see it and try it before recommending such a thing.

More helpful, I thought, were the suggestions by the mother (Mishee) with the boy who benefitted from singing his songs first before learning them on the piano.

I wish there was some kind of Teachers for Special-Needs Students List... good luck!

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Find a Music Therapist!
by: Anonymous

The field of music therapy is broad and includes adaptive lessons for special learners. Look at www.musictherapy.org to learn more, and to find a therapist. Therapists can also work with music teachers to develop lesson plans and goals for students, and help you figure out what to work on, and how to approach it. Some school districts have music therapists as well. As I was reading i found that a lot of the questions posted could be answered by a MT.

By Anonymous



Dana:

Thanks for the input!

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finding a teacher for your son
by: Anonymous

I am a guitar instructor with two autistic students. My advice to anyone looking for a private instructor for an autistic student is to simply get to know the instructor a little through conversation - go have some tea or coffee with them. You must find someone who is legitimately passionate about teaching your child. Most instructors do not change their teaching methods from student to student, so the instructor for your child must be flexible and willing to try new methods of teaching.

Encourage the instructor to read up on autism so that they will understand different approaches to teaching students with autism, and give them any tips that you may have. Give the teacher a little time to develop new methods before coming to a conclusion about their teaching, as teaching a child with autism presents a number of challenges that may take a few weeks to sort through, just as it takes an instructor a little time to know what type of delivery is most effective with any new student.

The great thing about private instruction is that the lesson is catered to the individual, and any competent and passionate instructor should be able to figure out the most effective way to teach your son. The goal with music lessons should be to expose your child to a new way of expression, culture, and mostly, to have fun. If your child leaves their lessons excited about music, then you have found the right instructor. It may take them time to become passionate about practicing, but as long as they are having fun, just like any other student, if they truly want to become a great musician, they'll put in the time. If they just enjoy playing a little but don't want to take it seriously, that's fine too. Music should add something glorious to your child's life - it shouldn't burden them with more things to do, or be something like an assignment to get done, and they shouldn't worry about being "good" at it. If they are having fun, they will want to play, and in turn will become a better musician because of their healthy experience with music. Good luck and I wish you and your son the very best.

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