Harmony Central Forums
Announcement
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Guitar Teachers--teaching autistic kids?

Collapse



X
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Guitar Teachers--teaching autistic kids?

    Been teaching for 12 years, but had my first autistic student last week. The parents mentioned it, but played down how major it was, so I was thinking I'd have a kid come in who might lack a bit of focus (which is most of my students anyway), but this was serious. It took all of my energy--and both the child's parents--to get through a tab version of Star Wars. He literally wouldn't look at the paper, me...his focus went all over the place. I suspect I'm not qualified for this sort of gig, but I don't want to bail out until I make a fair analysis of what I can do and what might be expected. Anyone have experience in this area? Any websites worth checking out?
    www.keith-moore.net
    All things guitar: Blog, jam tracks,
    articles, lessons, stuff!

  • #2
    It's not guitar but this has got to help some how.

    http://www.surfershealing.org/

    [These guys work with autistic kids and surfing. ]

    Try to break away from the typical. No TAB. No Notation. Just get the fingers moving.

    Try one finger moving on one string.
    About: http://www.soundslikejoe.com/
    Twitter: @Soundslikejoe

    Comment


    • #3
      From my experience most autistic people are EXTREMELY gifted in one area or another, and often times its something artistic (and I bet thats what the parents are looking for what it is.) I'd work on stuff besides tab also, some power chords or easy basic ones, get him hearing the sounds he can make. I wouldn't bail out on the gig, keep trying and good luck .

      Comment


      • #4
        As I understand it, most autistics don't/won't make eye contact. It's not a shyness thing, it's some weird wiring.

        They tend to be detached from the world, thus are in their own little world. It's kinda weird.

        I also wouldn't hold out any hopes of this kid being a virtuoso. I suspect it's a rarity that some of these mental-problem kids happen to be able to do one thing better than anybody else, that's gotta be the exception, rather than the rule. TV likes pushing the amazing "little Timmy only has 1/4 of a brain, but he can play Guitar better than Steve Vai" stories.

        I'm not trying to put down these kids, or yourself for trying. It's just that there's a whole lot of complicated stuff wrong with these kids, and if you go in with unrealistic expectations, you're going to be disappointed.

        JoeNovice had some good ideas. What's it take to get the kid to make some noise come from the guitar. Don't even worry about a song. Just get noise to come out. When you learn how to teach the kid to make noise, use that same technique to teach him how to play a few specific notes, and so on.

        Janx
        -------------------------
        The Black Hats - RPM2008 project CD

        Comment


        • #5
          That's a tough one dude. I suspect to effectively teach this kid anything you'd need some training in how to connect with autistic kids.
          If you start finding that it is more trouble than it's worth, it probably is. You can't be expected to teach an autistic kid to play....you are a guitar teacher not someone who is trained to work with disabilities(I assume).
          Personally, my ADD kids are all I can handle.
          I don't mean to sound cold. It would be nice if you could help the kid. But, it sounds like the whole experience was very taxing on you...and that isn't fair to you.

          Comment


          • #6
            Personally I think the most taxing situations can be the ones with the biggest payoff.

            If you spend your whole life writting things off because of personal stress you'll never accomplish anything of spiritual worth.


            Call a local psycologist or ask the parents if you can contact his therapist.

            If it's a stress charge more money.


            Just dont give up to quickly.
            About: http://www.soundslikejoe.com/
            Twitter: @Soundslikejoe

            Comment


            • #7
              I agree with you to a point joenovice, and I certainly agree with your general sentiment...there could be a great payoff. Either way, let us know how it goes.

              Comment


              • #8
                Good points, ya'all.

                I'm still in the middle on this. On one hand, I'm not trained in this, and it's probably not my thing. But then, I've heard stories about how autistic kids can really open up in great ways when they find the right sort of stimulation. That would be a cool thing to be part of.

                But I'd have to rethink my entire lesson approach. Ain't going to be teaching songs much. What to do...
                www.keith-moore.net
                All things guitar: Blog, jam tracks,
                articles, lessons, stuff!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have no idea about this stuff, but i suggest showing and teaching stuff that give instant results. E.G - teach him a C major chord, get him to keep playing it and solo over it (you solo!). Then say "see, we just played a song together!". From working with mentally challenged kids at school i've noticed a big reaction when tehy have a feel of accomplishment. This may help him pay attention more? Just speculation.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I don't know about how to teach an autistic person on a long-term basis, but I think one of the easiest things to start with is the blues shuffle pattern on open strings in A. The classic

                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    -2-2--4-4---2-2--4-4---2-2--4-4--5-5--4-4-
                    -0-0--0-0---0-0--0-0---0-0--0-0--0-0--0-0-
                    ----------------------------------------------------


                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    -2-2--4-4---2-2--4-4---2-2--4-4--5-5--4-4-
                    -0-0--0-0---0-0--0-0---0-0--0-0--0-0--0-0-
                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    ----------------------------------------------------

                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    -2-2--4-4---2-2--4-4---2-2--4-4--5-5--4-4-
                    -0-0--0-0---0-0--0-0---0-0--0-0--0-0--0-0-
                    ----------------------------------------------------

                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    -2-2--4-4---2-2--4-4---2-2--4-4--5-5--4-4-
                    -0-0--0-0---0-0--0-0---0-0--0-0--0-0--0-0-




                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    ----------------------------------------------------
                    -2-2--4-4---2-2--4-4---2-2--4-4--5-5--4-4-
                    -0-0--0-0---0-0--0-0---0-0--0-0--0-0--0-0-
                    ----------------------------------------------------


                    I saw on TV where Esteban taught this to a girl picked at random out of the audience in about two minutes and she was so excited because she could actually play something recognizeable. Of course this basic pattern works for a hundred rock songs. It can even be played with one finger.

                    Anyway, just thought I'd share an idea, good luck with your student.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I don't have any experience with autistic students. I did have a young student with ADD. The parents had warned me ahead of time, so at least I was prepared for it. There were a few lessons where I was lucky to get him to play for a total of 5 minutes throughout the 30 minute lesson. After six months of lessons he was still just playing a handful of one and two finger chords.

                      All I can suggest is to stay patient. Good luck.
                      Jam Tracks 41 backing tracks arranged by scale type that can be used with interactive software or as an audio CD.
                      Jam Tracks Exotica Learn and play 10 exotic scales.
                      www.UnderTheGroove.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        maybe try to inspire him. play something impressive and fast.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by hhsuey
                          maybe try to inspire him. play something impressive and fast.


                          Don't do the above. That would probably discourage a lot of folks with normal brains. Impressing folks with complicated stuff is just showing off. If they feel it is too complicated (and it likely is) for them to learn, they will be discouraged. Which for a teaching is to be avoided.

                          If you want to impress and encourage them. Show them a cool riff they recognize, then teach them how to play it. That get's pay-off because as a newbie they see a riff that they know and are easily impressed. Then when you reveal the secret of how easy it is for them to play it, they're hooked.

                          Iron Man and Smoke on the water both have easily recognizable riffs that are easy to play as power chords or 1 finger pickin's. Start there, or with similar riffs.

                          Even blues scale might be tricky for some folks.
                          -------------------------
                          The Black Hats - RPM2008 project CD

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think a more realistic goal would be "Mary had A Little Lamb" or "Twinkle Twinkle."


                            Even for kids with normal status these songs can be a fun challenge.


                            The idea that you show any person younger than 13 real rock is crazy. Most young kids haven't even heard enough rock to know that they like it or what it is.
                            About: http://www.soundslikejoe.com/
                            Twitter: @Soundslikejoe

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It's funny though, a lot of kids DO listen to real rock now. I've got several kids I teach who listen to their mom and dad's AC/DC, Led Zep, and Queen collection all the time, for example. Rock is definitely coming back around.
                              Anyway, playing something REALLY impressive for students generally doesn't have the desired effect of inspiring them. The "Smoke on the Water" and "Iron man" ideas work great though. But, for a kid with autism who knows? It's an entirely unique situation.

                              Comment













                              Working...
                              X