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#956471 - 04/28/07 01:03 AM Re: Autistic Student - please help!
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4373
Loc: Jersey Shore
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobuff:
Mark737,

Then what is the answer? Is there one?

How does a piano teacher instruct an autistic student successfully. Can one?

You say that your son is totally non-verbal. Does this mean he might be able to learn music through listening and/then demonstration only. Not bothering with verbal instruction or music books.

My heart goes out to you. I am truly interested in finding a way. It to me seems that everyone is different, but when you have autism thrown in as well, what does or can a teacher do to succeed? [/b]
Autism traits and abilities cover a huge spectrum, My son could never play the piano as sad as it is to admit.

It sounds like the student you have can learn, and without knowing him/her I would be only guessing. I just hope the parents don't think just because the child is autistic that he/she is a savant, which is actually extremely rare.

Some traits that the autistic have are that they are very visual and take clues via vision. They also love structure as in doing thinks in a certain order.

The parents probably can help you the most of course.

Let us know how you make out. You probably can really make a difference in this child...

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#956472 - 04/28/07 01:22 AM Re: Autistic Student - please help!
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Mark 737,

Thank you for your reply.

Sorry for all the questions, hope you don't mind.

And by the way to make it clear mbrown is the original poster asking the original question. Don't mean to hi-jack.
Although, I'm sure this discussion will help us all.

I too have experienced teaching or trying to teach autistic children, that is why I am curious and why I am asking these questions.

When you say clues via vision, could this mean teaching by rote? Or demonstration? Could the structure you are talking about be for example playing one note in a specific rhythm and repeating it until the rhythm and technique (via vision) is mastered and then learning the next note, same way, etc, building upon small goals?

Or do you mean visual as learning from a book?

Thank you.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#956473 - 04/28/07 10:00 AM Re: Autistic Student - please help!
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4373
Loc: Jersey Shore
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobuff:
Mark 737,

Thank you for your reply.

Sorry for all the questions, hope you don't mind.

And by the way to make it clear mbrown is the original poster asking the original question. Don't mean to hi-jack.
Although, I'm sure this discussion will help us all.

I too have experienced teaching or trying to teach autistic children, that is why I am curious and why I am asking these questions.

When you say clues via vision, could this mean teaching by rote? Or demonstration? Could the structure you are talking about be for example playing one note in a specific rhythm and repeating it until the rhythm and technique (via vision) is mastered and then learning the next note, same way, etc, building upon small goals?

Or do you mean visual as learning from a book?

Thank you. [/b]
Demonstrations will be very usefully as well as using a book. Verbal instruction can be difficult since they sometimes process information differently. Especially abstract information. Again, it truly depends on the child's handicap severity. With my son we use lots of hand signals and sign language.


The structure I speak of has more to do with a certain routine. These children seem to love an organized approach and to maintain a specific pattern in their activities. When you abruptly change things on them they can get upset.

I would imagine that scales which run in distinct patterns and can be demoed visually very well could be a great way to start.

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#956474 - 04/28/07 12:14 PM Re: Autistic Student - please help!
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mark737:
I just hope the parents don't think just because the child is autistic that he/she is a savant, which is actually extremely rare.
[/b]
I share that concern, and I think one of the most important things mbrown can do is have a long chat with the parents about their goals and expectations regarding piano for their child. I got the feeling that mbrown was feeling frustrated because the lesson(s) were progressing slowly. But it could be that the parents are not worried about the rate of progress at all and simply want their child to have the experience of lessons. I know that I have enrolled my son in a plethora of activities, some meeting with more success than others, not because I am expecting him to excel in all or even any of them but because I am trying to give him as "normal" an upbringing as possible.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#956475 - 04/28/07 05:49 PM Re: Autistic Student - please help!
Eternal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/06
Posts: 1285
Loc: Posts: 80,372
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mark737:
I just hope the parents don't think just because the child is autistic that he/she is a savant, which is actually extremely rare.
[/b]
I agree, though it has been shown that the occurrence of savants is much more likely among autistic population than the general one. This short article estimates 10% of autistic savants vs. less than 1% of savants in the general population.

Check out this amazing example of an autistic man with photographic memory:

http://break.com/index/autistic-man-draws-near-perfect-panorama=of-rome.html

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#956476 - 05/25/07 07:45 AM Re: Autistic Student - please help!
AutisticPianoMethod Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 1
Loc: Syracuse, NY
Greetings,I see lots of interest in teaching autistic children. I have been doing this for three years and have developed a curriculum targeted to that population. It is focused on playing by ear though it introduces reading gradually through a proto-reading system. You can check it out at www.AutisticPianoEXpress.com. I am also interested in comparing ideas with anyone else who is teaching special needs kids or adults. No doubt there are many and varied approaches to this work.

Nice to meet you all,
_________________________
Alex Citron
www.AutisticPianoEXpress.com

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#956477 - 05/25/07 08:28 AM Re: Autistic Student - please help!
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Welcome to the forum, Alex. \:\) Any relation to PW member John Citron, by any chance?

I've only had a chance to look briefly at your website, but your approach sounds intriguing. My son has been asking for piano lessons, but I'm not convinced he's got the motivation to sit down and concentrate for a normal lesson. I've been dabbling with him a little, using a John Thompson beginner book we had sitting around. He's usually ready to stop and do something else after 5 or 10 minutes. So your teach at home curriculum that I could do in short spurts sounds promising. I'll look closely at your materials this weekend.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#956478 - 05/25/07 10:34 AM Re: Autistic Student - please help!
pianolady14 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/07
Posts: 131
This does look very interesting. I love the 2-track idea for repeats! I will look over it more over the holiday weekend.
_________________________
Piano teacher since 1995

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#956479 - 05/28/07 10:14 PM Re: Autistic Student - please help!
PerformingYak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 205
Loc: Lightning Ridge, Australia
wow, this is really interesting. I have not had a lot of experience in teaching autistic students myself but I know there are a couple coming up in the school.. thanks for all the info here guys.
_________________________
"Work hard and strive to reach the power of bland"

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