Four Year Old with Hearing Impairment
Found in: Special Needs & Learning Differences
Kate H., AU
I would like some advice regarding a potential student. A mother rang me recently, – she had seen my advertisement locally and had been advised by her four year-old son’s occupational therapist to try piano lessons for him. He has had hearing impairment from a young age due to otitis media and now has grommits (tiny tubes inserted into the tympanic membrane) which will improve the situation. His therapist apparently said he has coordination problems and has trouble “crossing the mid-line”. As I feel I can help, I suggested the mother come and meet me with her son and we discuss an approach. I suggested I also talk to the therapist after I meet them. I feel that although he is very young to start SM, I can use the program in very slow steps and keep it very fun and interactive. Do any of you have experience in this type of situation? I felt that if I declined, the mother (she sounded determined) may go elsewhere and that traditional piano lessons may be not the best thing at all for her son.
Joanne J., AU
While four is very young to start the SM program I take your point that the mum may try other methods which may spoil the musical experience. I have a small, challenged five and a half year old I have been working with, along with his parents, for nearly five months. Daniel also has a number of challenges one of which is a form of autism.
He is a joy to share the Simply Music program with. We had to start with actually pushing his fingers down on the keys (gently of course!) and then only 1 and 2 at a time as his fine motor skills were very limited. We then progressed to 1,2 & 3 starting on C making up a little song as we moved up a white note after each to finish on G. Then FSS, and chords.
Now, after 38, 15 minute sessions (Daniel can only concentrate for that long) over 19 weeks, he can play (and SING) Dreams, Jackson Blues, Night Storm, Honey Dew, Amazing Grace and Chester Chills Out with both hands very confidently.
Needless to say mum, dad, Daniel and I are beaming from ear to ear. I truly thank God every day for the amazing gift Neil has brought to us and so do my students – especially their parents.
I would encourage the mum to work with him herself with finger numbers, the alphabet through to G and walking his fingers up and down the keyboard with Five Steps of Sound (FSS). When he has accomplished these tasks, the other BASICS could be given to Mum to proceed with. I have found this to be very effective in delaying the start of formal lessons until the child is a little older and more ready, and it has been much appreciated by the Mums.