Non-verbal autistic student
Found in: Special Needs & Learning Differences
Susan M., Canada
I’m going to be starting an autistic student who is non-verbal. I’m thinking I should create picture boards to set up the activities in the lesson. Can anyone offer other ideas/resources to assist in starting up this student? Also, do you have specific questionnaires that you give parents related to their special needs?
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
I had a non-verbal student with autism and all kinds of other issues. His parents programmed some pictures into his Dynavox for the general routine – does your student have one? We established a routine there of ‘Greet the teacher’ (high 5) and ‘sit at the piano’. During the lesson we used a small Velcro board his mom made. At the end of the lesson, back to the Dynavox for ‘Thank teacher’ (another high 5) and then ‘get in the van’.
The small Velcro board was just a row of six boxes with a picture Velcro’d to each box. He needed to see all the choices together. The pictures were: black notes, white notes, free play, Paul copies teacher, Teacher copies Paul, Twinkle Twinkle (his favorite song). Then we followed these steps:
1 – He chose which one he wanted to do first by taking it off the board and setting it in front of him on the piano.
2 – We completed that task.
3 – He put the picture in a ‘done’ container.
4 – We repeated until we got through them all, then the lesson was over (about 15 minutes).
I had very simple goals for him – recognizing black vs white keys and being able to mimic me on anything. He LOVED Twinkle Twinkle, so I held his finger and ‘played’ it. After a while of doing this, I would stop in the middle and sometimes he was able to play the next note on his own. He just got a big kick out of hearing it.