Students with Autism Can Participate in Music Ensembles
I am a Special Education teacher in Texas and have worked with students with autism of all grade levels for many years. I would like to address your concern regarding students with autism, or any other disability, participating in a music program.
I have found that, while some will have a particular strength or savant-ability in music, many are not able to keep up with the repertoire and rigor that come with advanced learning of music skills. This being said, there are many aspects of music that they can access that actually can assist them in learning life skills, for example:
*listening for start and stop cues
*waiting your turn to play
*remaining in your seat
*keeping a steady beat
At some point it does become challenging because the discipline of a music classroom requires that everyone play together, in time, and with appropriate loudness/softness. So, therefore, his or her participation may be limited, especially at competion or concert time. Nonetheless, music lends itself for other opportunities available to those who may not be able to access all aspects of music.
It just takes some creative thinking that is also reasonable for the general music educator to carry out, with all students (general and those with disabilities) in mind for the greatest success.
Good points. It's a big job being a music group director, with so many needs and goals to meet. And there is so much that being a band member can teach you, as you point out.