special needs student

Brigette said: Sep 30, 2009
Brigette Weisenburger
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
Aberdeen, SD
11 posts

I have a student who I’ve had for about 3 years. She is 16 years old. She has an IQ of 42, general learning delays, sequencing issues, and speech delays due to being born 7 weeks premature as a result of silent abration which caused a loss of oxygen to the brain. She has also suffered from stroke.

This girl loves piano! She is always excited to play and always gives 100%. My question is, where do you go and how much do you expect? She is starting to really know the Twinkles -R and L, once in a while we work on them together. She has done RH through Claire de Lune and we are currently learning Long Long Ago. These songs are sketchy at best… many times she needs help with where to go next. I have put stars on the songs we continue to play, and let others go. It seems to be too many for her to remember. The family does listen, but not as well as a Suzuki family should. Talk about getting tired of repetition, I must say, I get tired of the exact same lesson each week, but the girl doesn’t seem to.

Has anyone had a student with similar issues? What have you done? Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Sara said: Oct 1, 2009
 Violin
191 posts

It sounds like you have a tough situation. I have had students with autism and although their cases I don’t think were as severe as yours, they are not the typical student scenarios either.
I think that as long as she is enjoying the process I wouldn’t worry too much about staying on the same lesson. Are there songs out of the Suzuki rep. that she could learn that would be on the same level as the songs she knows fairly well?
Everyone progresses at a different rate and someone of her ability really should be commended for even trying!

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

said: Oct 11, 2009
 4 posts

I commend you for what you are doing with this girl and encourage you to change your perspective from that of teacher to that of therapist. It is obviously very therapeutic for her to continue. Focus on what she is getting out of it not what progress you are used to making with students. Remember to focus on one thing as Dr. Suzuki so wisely did. Maybe for her the one thing is self esteem or coordination. Maybe its learning a new technique or a new set of notes or putting the hands together for a measure. Maybe its doing the same old thing one more lesson and adding one slightly new thing to it. Or not. Just look for the one thing she needs the most. Talk with her parents about what they hope to get out of it the most. That might help you all focus on the same most important thing for her.

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