What are some tips for accommodating students with special needs?
Every student is different. You play a key role in helping students of all ages and abilities succeed! Here are some tips from teachers like you.
Before the first lesson
Parents/students may not volunteer information about disabilities up front
Don’t be afraid to ask parents/students before the first lesson if there’s anything that you you should know that can help you be the best teacher for the student
If you have your own teaching policies, you may want to include a clause to address this Here is a great example, courtesy of Dena C., a TakeLessons teacher:
“Learning disabilities, physical handicaps, personality sensitivities: Please let me know if the student has any learning disabilities, disorders, or personality sensitivities (ADD, ADHD, Autism/Asperger's, Dyslexia, cognitive delay, perfectionist, extremely shy, etc.), so I can tailor their lessons accordingly. This will also help me in selecting appropriate lesson books and music for the student. I also need to know of any physical challenges as well. I have not had a student yet who couldn’t learn to play piano, even when faced with a learning disability or physical handicap. We may have to slow down the pace a little or make other adjustments, but everyone can learn to play!”
Suggest longer lesson times
Extra time to explain new concepts
For the ADD or ADHD student
Longer lesson = double-edged sword
Some may be able to handle 45 min, but not 60 min
Try it out, and cut back if necessary
What works for one student may not work for another!
Work on 1 or 2 tasks at one time, at the most
Don’t skip around too much
Make sure they master the task they will be practicing before they leave the studio
Amp up the energy to keep them engaged
Do not speak too fast
Positive and encouraging words
Keep calm and carry on
Introducing Concepts with Repetition
Find ways to repeat the same concepts using a variety of methods
Let the student be the teacher
Helps student to focus
Kids love it and get excited to play teacher for once!
Celebrate the smallest of accomplishments
Visual and listening activities
Particularly helpful for ADD and ADHD students
Seniors or Students with physical disabilities
Arthritis or MS using string and keyboard instruments - find ways to drop notes
Take the initiative to educate yourself
Use adaptive tools