Music therapist Emily Ross presented Teaching the Special Learner: Wisdom and Strategies for the Independent Music Teacher for the Oregon Music Teacher Association in October 2016.
In her presentation, Emily Ross looked at characteristics of autism, ADHD, intellectual disabilities and emotional disturbance. She provided audience members with specific strategies and general ideas for approaching students who present such characteristics.
“We know that studying music is good for everyone,” Ross said. “Some children come to us, however, without the attention span or executive functioning skills to excel in private music lessons without some special considerations.”
Ross discussed the differences between music lessons, adaptive music lessons and music therapy, so that instructors can help students in the best manner possible. The presentation closed with a conversation about communication with parents regarding these sensitive topics.
Emily Ross teaches in the music therapy program at Marylhurst University, where she is also clinical coordinator. She taught public school music (general music and band) for seven years, and she worked in private practice as a music therapist with children with autism and other challenges for 12 years.