Are There Any Books on How to Teach Piano to an Autistic Child?

by Molly
(Hershey, PA)

I work at a school for children who are medium to low functioning on the autism spectrum. In my classroom, I work with a student who can only say a few words, but he loves music and music toys. He always claps to the beat of any song and is 12 years old. I feel as if one day he may be able to play an instrument. I was just wondering if there are any good books on teaching even the piano to a child who has autism. I know if I were to play a few notes on the piano he would be able to imitate me to a tee.

Hi, Molly,

I don't know of any books specifically about teaching piano to kids on the autism spectrum. But I see there are many websites offering advice (such as this site!) and even some videos. Please read all my autism-related pages, and keep searching, and see where that takes you. Do you have a music teacher on staff? That person would be the logical one to get involved with this 12-year-old.

Alternatively, you can teach YOURSELF to play the piano, then share what you learn with him. I like your idea of showing him things to learn by rote; most children learn music very well this way. You can start with a small piece of a song, and gradually add more and more.

For understanding good hand shape and finger function, and how to use chords, I recommend reading through all of my beginner piano pages and music education pages for the many tips and exercises I present, then picking up the book "Perfect Start for Notereading."

Good luck!

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Autism, try Suzuki method
by: Marilyn

He sounds like he might do very well with the Suzuki method! Children learn in the beginning by rote. I would LOVE to try to teach him, I've used this method with many students and want to share piano with autisic and other children with disabilities.

However I am in Utah, but if you want to email me I would love to be involved.

Look for a Suzuki teacher in his area that might consider doing a few (or more) free lessons to see if it might help him.

Autism and Music
by: Anonymous

Hi there,
If you go to the TVO Facebook page, and scroll down to the Learning Portraits-Morgan Kitching... TVO did a special on my son he has Autism. It is about his music therapy. You can also go to Phil Morris Music.
Good Luck

Dana: Thanks!

Comment on Dana's Reply
by: Molly

Thank you so much! We do not have a music teacher, however I play the violin and I can play the piano at a novice level. I feel like he'd do well with any instrument.

He also doesn't have very good fine motor function but I know that this would help him! I will read all the information on this site to try and teach him to the best of my ability.

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