The gift-giving season is here and you may be considering just what to pick-up for your child, grandchild or friend with autism. It can sometimes be difficult to decide what present is appropriate and / or will be enjoyable for someone on the autism spectrum. Here are a few reasons to consider The Young Method this holiday season for someone you know with ASD.
Having the ability to create music and play familiar tunes on the piano is an empowering skill! Instead of passively listening to a song, students can now recreate it, alter it or even design a brand new piece of music of their own. Since our system initially uses error less teaching methods, many of the more frustrating aspects of learning the piano are eliminated. Everyone enjoys making progress and the positive attention they will receive for learning new and more challenging pieces is a great goal.
Most of us have heard about the numerous benefits associated with learning how to play the piano; from fine-motor skill development to future social skills development through attending musical functions. While this is true, learning to play an inexpensive keyboard or an upright piano can also help reading skills, attention and focus as well as math skills. The best thing is that all of these benefits will develop, regardless of the relative difficulty of the music being played.
Toys, Toys, Toys
Chances are, you or other family members have some toys in mind that would make great holiday presents for your child with ASD. Why not supplement these with an activity which could develop into a life long skill! Also, I encourage teachers and parents to allow students to explore the piano and just 'jam'. A typical, modern electronic keyboard offers a huge variety of instrument sounds that are easy to control. Combining this with the fact that the student can independently use all of these aspects, most of our students have a blast just exploring the keyboard on their own.
Unfortunately, most toys eventually run their course and become 'old news' after a certain amount of time. The great thing about the piano is that, as the student advances, it can change and adapt to them. After learning the basics, errorlessly, they can learn fun and recognizable songs and simple pieces from today's musical repertoire.
Is he ready for the piano?
One of the truly effective aspects of ABA is that concepts are broken down, systematically, and introduced on an individualized basis. In other words, if playing with multiple fingers is too challenging at this point in time, the materials will change to accommodate this scenario. Based on the initial performance of my very first students, I developed a system that would be as inclusive as possible. Therefore, some students will find the difficulty level just right and others will progress quickly and have many early successes to build on.