Dyslexia

Share your experiences or ask for help with special needs students

Postby Ursie » Wed Apr 28, 2004 2:34 pm

Just wondering whether anyone has any students who are dyslexic? Turns out I have a student who is. I have read the book Instrumental music for dyslexics by Sheila Oglethorpe and I continue to dip into it, it's very helpful with lots of great advice and ideas on how to approach teaching. However, I would be grateful to hear from any other teachers or students who have experienced dyslexia. Has anyone else read the book? Perhaps I should pass this student onto another teacher who is experienced in teaching dyslexic students but I really enjoy teaching this student and her parents are happy with her progress so far.
Ursie
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2003 5:39 pm

Postby Mins Music » Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:08 pm

If I've had students with dyslexia I haven't known :(

I know you started the thread to GET help, but would you tell me some of the points the book talks about? I had a little girl who always got her d' and b's around the other way, but she seems to be over that now, and I haven't had any problems - but it's always good to know about what can be done in case I do come across this.

Passing this student is one option.
Another option is to take the study of this book a little more seriously and apply the suggestions - sometimes students have to be 'the guinea pig' - how else are you going to learn? If you do apply the suggestions and they work, then YOU become the teacher with experience with dyslexia and perhaps other teachers may pass their students on to you!
View this 'problem' as an opportunity! :)
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
User avatar
Mins Music
 
Posts: 524
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2004 5:12 am
Location: Goonellabah

Postby 65-1074818729 » Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:48 pm

Ursie,

There is a web site www.schwablearning.org which is a non- profit organization which appears to have a lot of information regarding learning disabilities. There appears to be some information on dyslexia. It may be worth a look.

AFlat :)
User avatar
65-1074818729
 

Postby Ursie » Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:52 pm

Mins Music wrote:I had a little girl who always got her d' and b's around the other way, but she seems to be over that now, and I haven't had any problems - but it's always good to know about what can be done in case I do come across this.


"Dyslexia is a bit more than just getting your d and b’s round the wrong way." Mins Music I shall do my best to explain my own understanding, thus far, of this learning difficulty.

I’ve had two students so far who have been assessed as dyslexic. The first student was a 7/8 year old boy. An intelligent little boy with a great interest/passion for nature and the great outdoors. For about 99% of the period that I taught him I was unaware that he was being assessed for dyslexia. I only found out by accident from a family friend. Quite often parents of dyslexic children don’t think to tell the instrumental teacher – not realising the significance it has on the child’s musical learning ability. They also don’t realise the effect it has on your teaching programme. I had read a little about dyslexia but didn’t link my student and dyslexia although I always knew that things weren’t quite right. As soon as I was made aware everything fell into place. He always had to be reminded which was left and right, not just at the start of the lesson but throughout the lesson. His reading skills did not seem to match his bright mind. He took a long time to learn notes and rhythm was a particular difficulty. Bar lines caused no end of problems and he insisted on adding a beat for each one! I eventually got round the bar line problem by simply removing them. He would very quickly forget what we had worked on and hands together work practically brought progress to a stand still. He would also come to a stop at some bar lines and then suddenly take off at speed! He did practice though and tried very hard. I would write down exactly what was to be practiced and for how long. He would use an egg timer to help him keep track. This all worked well until the egg timer broke and wasn’t replaced by the parent. Practice became less and less as he found it difficult to organise himself. At this point the parent decided that he wasn’t practicing and so lessons should stop. Without parental support to organise him I think this was always going to be a non-starter.

The second student is a young lady aged 11. I have been teaching her for about 1 year and I suspected fairly early on that she was dyslexic. I was unsure, however, whether to voice my suspicions to her parents. I dropped numerous hints which I have since been told were picked up. Recently she sat the entrance exam for a private school and they said she should be assessed for dyslexia. She has been assessed and found to be dyslexic. I suspected this student was dyslexic as she takes a long time to learn any note reading and coordination takes time too. However, again like my other student, she is intelligent, bright, interested. She works hard. Her confidence has had to be boosted though as her self-esteem is low. Her assessment has shown that she has problems with short-term memory and so learning piano is a good thing for her as it requires repetitive practice. What you must be sure of is that you teach correctly as once it is in the long-term memory it isn’t easy to change, in fact you might not be able to change it. She has a good ear and plays by ear well. This I intend to use and balance the playing by ear (to keep her interested and not despairing of her capabilities) with persevering on the note reading pieces.

The book itself has lots to say and it is difficult to single out specific things. However, in the opening chapter it says this (amongst other things): -

“Dyslexia (dys = Greek for poor or hard, lexia + Greek for language) is much more than difficulty with words; its repercussions may be recognized right across the teaching spectrum. The common denominator for all music is sound – that which our ears hear and translate into something meaningful. Second to that is the score – that which our eyes perceive. Pictures are sent to the brain, which in turn send messages to the muscles telling them how to act. These two aspects – sound and sight – are two of the primary areas in which dyslexic people sometimes have difficulty; therefore much of what is under consideration will have significance for all music teachers. There are secondary areas – left/right confusion, physical control (see Chapter 5a), memory problems, distractability, lack of self-esteem and disorganization – which all need to be considered when teaching instrumental music.”

This post is proving quite long so I think I have said enough for the time being. I could go on and on :D

Does any of this ring any bells with anyone else?

To AFlat: Thanks for the suggested website - I shall certainly go and have a look.
Ursie
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2003 5:39 pm

Postby Mins Music » Thu Apr 29, 2004 5:08 pm

The book sounds really interesting Ursie - and talks a lot more about dyslexia than I knew of, for instance, I didn't realise that they struggled with left and right.

I think I'll look into purchasing the book myself.

Ursie, have you decided to persevere with your students?
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
User avatar
Mins Music
 
Posts: 524
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2004 5:12 am
Location: Goonellabah

Postby Ursie » Thu Apr 29, 2004 5:42 pm

Do you know if I'm allowed to scan pages from the book to let you see more? The part I quoted may make it sound as though it is very theoretical when in fact it is very practical - too much for me to type out really - and there are diagrams.

I will persevere with my student. I did suggest to the parents that she may be better with the piano teacher that goes to the school (purely for convenience. Also, as the private school employs her she is probably quite experienced so may be a better option for my student) but they are keen for her to continue on with me. I am more than happy to do this - it is a challenge but a most rewarding one. Also in my keeness to find ways to help her I am also finding lots of ideas to help with the rest of my teaching - great :D
Ursie
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2003 5:39 pm

Postby 81-1074658942 » Thu Apr 29, 2004 11:19 pm

dyslexia is kind of a strange thing. My dad is dyslexic and he's easily the smartest person I know.
User avatar
81-1074658942
 

Postby Ursie » Tue May 04, 2004 9:44 am

Quidam wrote:dyslexia is kind of a strange thing. My dad is dyslexic and he's easily the smartest person I know.


One of the points that seems to be apparent is that many dyslexics are indeed unusually creative or productive - so I don't doubt for a minute that your dad is the smartest person you know!
Ursie
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2003 5:39 pm


Return to Teaching Disabled Students

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron