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Special Needs

  • Working with Disabled Students

    Mike Lawson | April 17, 2014

    Strategies for including students with special needs in standard ensembles

    Because of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, it is becoming more and more prevalent that students with disabilities are participating in traditional music programs. Before, it may have been a situation where educators could say, “No, this student isn’t able to be a part of my class.” And now, legally, they can’t say that. That has created a thirst for information on how to work with these special needs students and incorporate them into ensembles and classes. A lot of people have a hard time with that because, for example, they might not be able to imagine how a student in a wheelchair could participate in the marching band. However, once it’s shown to them how it might be possible, the teachers tend to become much more willing to try to make it happen.

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  • UpClose: Adrian Anantawan

    Mike Lawson | April 17, 2014

    Exploring strategies for more inclusive music education

    Many music educators speak about trying to engage as many students as possible in the act of music making. For children who have physical disabilities, participating in a typical instrumental ensemble can be a particularly challenging proposition. Fortunately, there is now a wide array of adaptive tools in this day and age that have been designed to assist children who have unique physical skill sets. There are also many resources out there for educators who may be unfamiliar with how to best serve these children. And more importantly, even though a disability may be an obvious way in which some children stands apart from their peers, chances are that children with special needs – mental or physical – still have many more things in common with their classmates than they do differences.

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