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Advise from parents please....

(5 Posts)
1805 Fri 21-Sep-12 22:05:59

Ok, so I have messed up and need advise please as to politely find out some info without offending anyone.

I teach piano in a primary school as a private teacher, not through a music service. I did not put on the form a space for :"any special needs/medical information".
Now, one new pupil seems to be possibly autistic (I am no doctor or SN specialist), and I am wondering how best to approach the parents without seeming rude.
I don't want to appear to be saying to the parents "what is wrong with your child?". That would be wrong, and fairly awful. What if there is nothing wrong with him? What if there is and I could be adapting my teaching to help him learn better?

How would you like to be approached in this situation.??

Thank you. Please guide me through this from a parents point of view.

AgnesDiPesto Fri 21-Sep-12 23:03:32

Tricky one because if the parents have not been upfront with you it could be that (a) they don't know their child presents so differently & it would come as a shock (b) they do know but have not accepted that is the case / are in denial (c) they do know, are fine with it but for some reason haven't told you - which could be for many reasons, may be they thought you would refuse to teach him if you knew / he may have been turned away from lessons before / or they simply thought the school will have told you.

Can you talk to school? If they are not allowed to tell you about a child's SN you could say what you have said here - I need to broach this with the parents how do you suggest I do that? That might prompt some information about the child / parent.

If the only option is to talk to the parents direct you are going to have to feel out how much the parent knows - you cannot assume they are on board with their child's difficulties. I think all you can say is the child struggled with ... eg following instructions or whatever, and ask the parent if they can suggest any strategies they use at home to help you adapt your teaching. Make it very clear that you want to teach their child and perhaps start by mentioning anything that did go well / was positive? My older (non SN) children have music lessons and we never get any contact from the teachers except an end of year report so I would be delighted if a music teacher took the time to ring me and ask about them.

While we have a piano teacher on here grin I am thinking of my moderately severe ASD 5 year old learning to play. He learns patterns in everything and has in the past been able for eg to work out tunes on toy xylophones so I think it is something he could do / would enjoy. I was looking at a scheme called Figurenotes where you stick colour coded symbols on the keys and on the music. Does this seem like a good scheme to you?

If you tell us what the child struggled with we could probably also suggest some strategies alot of us on here have children with ASD

1805 Sat 22-Sep-12 00:26:56

Thanks Agnes.
The child rocked backward and forward and was very easily distracted by outside noises. I have no problem teaching him, it would just be nice to know so that I can be ready with statergies etc. The school were pretty blank "not at liberty to divulge information" so it will have to be the parents I approach.
Having had experience with SN before, I am fairly confident there is something present, but would be horrified if I was wrong. I also noticed that he sits separately in his class and rocks in that setting also.

As for your dc, it sounds like music could be a successful outlet. I personally am not a fan of colour coding or marking the keys. I find that ASD children can learn the correct terminology from the beginning just as well as (if not quicker sometimes) than "straight forward" children. I wonder whether 5 is too young though??? With any 5 yr old I would stick to informal playing, copying, and exploring musical sounds. You may find your dc can work out the harmonies to songs too - def encourage this. Play them a song and see if dc can copy it back. Depends on the child of course, but the last ASD pupil I had (11yr old) had to work at breakneck speed during the lesson. It was exhausting! But he was so proud of what he could do. He even performed at a concert in front of the whole school! I will go and look at Figurenotes now as I have not heard of that.

1805 Sat 22-Sep-12 00:34:11

Gosh, that looks complicated. Very interesting though. Do you think it would help an ASD child? Just realising I could learn a lot from this forum!

Any comments relating to music lessons very welcome from SN parents!

dev9aug Sat 22-Sep-12 01:52:00

this thread might be of some interest to you.

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