Asperger’s support at Institute

said: Jul 9, 2006
 6 posts

We will be attending Institute at Steven’s Point in August. Thank you to those who replied to my “what to expect” inquiry.

My son has many symptoms of Asperger’s (he is what they call PDD for those into acronyms). I would like to talk with other parents of children with AS who will be at Institute, or who have attended. Is there any sort of formalized support there? Which teachers at Stevens Point have experience teaching students with AS?

Most importantly, will I be able to address my son’s needs despite the schedule or expectations at institute? For example, if he cannot sit through a group lesson, is it going to be a problem to leave when we need to leave? I know it is an important part of Suzuki training to watch the other students receive instruction, but he doesn’t see the importance of this and won’t sit through it.

said: Jul 9, 2006
 104 posts

I don’t speak from authority, but only from personal experience … I would suggest contacting someone from the institute in advance and clearing your needs before you arrive. At the very least, I would approach your master class teacher up front at the first lesson (maybe you can arrive to that class a little early on the first day) and just let him or her know your situation. I say this because the Suzuki culture places a great emphasis on observing others’ lessons, and if you just up and leave the master class after your son’s “turn” I think you might encounter some resentment or negative comments. At the institues I’ve attended with my children, the teachers always “rotate” the order of the lessons at the master classes—so if your child goes first one day, he moves to the last position the next day and so on until he is first again. It’s hard to predict when “your” turn will come up because the length of the lessons aren’t always exactly equal. There is definitely the expectation that you will stay and observe all the lessons. Perhaps you can bring some quiet activity for your son (coloring, workbook) to get him through the other kids’ lessons.

Bottom line, you want to get the most out of your experience, but you may need to inform the coordinators and/or teachers about any special needs. People can and do pull their chldren out of classes when they are sending signals that they’ve had “enough.” When I took my youngest daughter at age (almost) 4, I kept my eye on her and when she had enough, I just pulled her out. I think the institutes can be a great experience, but I do believe they push the kids to their limits. Knowing and respecting your own child’s limits will help you to avoid any unpleasantness.

Laurel said: Jul 9, 2006
Laurel MacCullochViolin
Langley, BC
120 posts

I’d second the idea of contacting the Institute in advance. I have a friend who works with students with Asperger’s and other PDDs; she told me they tend to be very visually oriented—so perhaps the masterclass teacher (or even the group teacher) could use a list or chart to help guide the student through the lesson? I know my student with Asperger’s seemed to be much more focused when he had the music to read (he had learned before he came to me).

Good luck!
Laurel

said: Jul 10, 2006
 6 posts

Thank you for your suggestions. My son’s teacher says that Joseph Kaminsky himself has 2 children who are autisitic. That leads me to hope that perhaps they at least are aware and accepting of non-neurotypical students.

I have tried to contact the institute repeatedly but my calls and emails have not been returned. I’m sure they are very busy. Does anyone know of a “key” person who can help (this is at Stevens Point).

Thanks again.

said: Jul 12, 2006
 22 posts

herself

Thank you for your suggestions. My son’s teacher says that Joseph Kaminsky himself has 2 children who are autisitic. That leads me to hope that perhaps they at least are aware and accepting of non-neurotypical students.

I have tried to contact the institute repeatedly but my calls and emails have not been returned. I’m sure they are very busy. Does anyone know of a “key” person who can help (this is at Stevens Point).

Thanks again.

Hello :) I know Joe Kaminsky, he is a very warm person who is quite good at keeping children’s attention-he would be a very good teacher to have. Have you tried directly contacting the director, Dee Martz? I believe she is at home this week….good luck and have a positive experience!

“Practice! Practice until you go crazy….then do it five more times.”

said: Jul 12, 2006
 122 posts

It highly depends on the teachers your child is assigned to if any of them have experience with autistic kids. There’s nothing formal in any teacher training course-unless a trainer has experience and adds it to the course-dealing directly with special needs. This is partly why entire conferences have been devoted to special needs.

Not all teachers have experience and I’d be surprised if there was any sort of formalized support for autistic kids at an institute. I don’t think the institute directors would know which teachers have experience with autistic kids. I know the institutes I’ve been to have no formalized support for special needs. I would be surprised if you can get ahold of the institute since it starts in 2 weeks and the institute directors are probably in a mad dash to get everything done!

I would speak briefly to each teacher before the 1st class and let them know your child has Asperger’s and that you may need to pull him out if the class is over stimulating him. Suzuki teachers in general are aware that each child has their own needs, and I would be surprised if there is a negative reaction from any teacher if you’ve warned her in advance.

“When love is deep, much can be accomplished.”
-Shinichi Suzuki

said: Aug 2, 2006
 5 posts

My 10y/o daughter and I just came back from a WONDERFUL Suzuki camp experience in Ohio. DD has Asperger’s and we were worried about a few things as well. Sitting through recitals and our master’s class were a few. Our DD’s angel was looking over her when it came to her master’s teacher. She has 2 autistic students “back home” in her regular life and her own son is a special needs kid! She took to our daughter right away and due to “sceduling conflicts” had her lesson with our DD privately,right before lunch, on her own time! :D We didn’t tell any other teacher about her AS, DD was kept busy enough, and was prepared enough to actually land first chair violin (with a 7y/o prodigy) in beginning orchestra!!! She actually made friends and because I was there ALL THE TIME, I monitered her behavior and could make adjustments when needed. I’d LOVE to share our experience with you, just let me know! I did let her take books to faculty recitals and the High Honers recital, we sat in the back. We didn’t attend 2 other group gatherings due to the long time commitment involved. All in all, we had a great time being with each other and doing the thing she is passionate about!! Good luck to you!

Sue

Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, “Grow, grow.”

said: Aug 31, 2006
 44 posts

I am wondering how the author’s experience was at the Institute. Give us a followup!

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