A lot of people do not give importance to music as a way to to teach children with special needs.

One of the things I enjoyed when I was still teaching preschool was to include music in the day to day curriculum. There are songs to make the kids get up and play, there are songs that teach learning concepts, there are songs that helps them pack away the materials they used such as there are songs that signals the class is ending in a bit and we have to say good-byes.

I have to say that though I have very limited musical ability when it comes to playing musical instruments during those times when I was still teaching the young ones, I know that did not deter me from enjoying music with them then. I just wish I paid more attention when I was taking piano lessons when I was way younger.

Teaching children about music (and also how to play various musical instruments) is a good way for them to learn a lot of things:

  • they learn to listen
  • they learn to feel the rhythm, the beat, the essence
  • they learn to be more sensitive in listening to others especially if they have to play musical instruments with others
  • they move to the beat of the music
  • they are able to distinguish similarities and differences for say for example, ultra light acoustic guitar strings or nylon strings

Music is a good learning tool and when properly used, can be a big help for the children with special needs.

Here are a few samples of songs to teach for children with special needs. 

It’s April 26 today and we are halfway through our summer vacation. That fast? Yes, but not because it is summer means the children are off the books. Nope. Summer means upping the reading skills by more fun choices.

I’m sure children will get bored if they are not engaged in summer fun activities so reading, and not just clicking on those gadgets, will give them fun and excitement too. Now is the time we parents and teachers and parents lead the way and make them love reading.

I’m sure when they are adults they’d rather read fun stuff than read minute details of work-related literature like contracts, North Carolina health insurance, and manuals.

Here is a list of books for summer reading. Let’s hope the reading continues on till after summer vacation. I know *rolls eyes*, it’s 2009 but it’s still a list 😀

Here is another reading list.

I’m not one who get books with popular animation characters because the children can watch these characters on TV so why bother have them in books? I’d rather children read books that will take them to different places, stir their imagination and make them want to read more. Or maybe be a children’s books author some day.

I’ve read about Tomatis years ago during my early foray with the web and I’ve learned from a student about Tomatis Philippines branch. Ok, this is circa late 90s. Among the so many articles I printed about special education, the one about Tomatis method was read again and again. It interested me so.

Fast forward to three years ago, I had a student who underwent a Tomatis Listening Program in Alabang. The parents were so happy with the results. They said that their child, my student, has greatly improved after she underwent a Tomatis Listening Program.

What is Tomatis Method?

The Tomatis Method was developed by Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis, a French Ear-Nose-Throat or ENT specialist. The study of auditory processing and language development was pioneered by him which led to a new multi-disciplinary science called Audio Psycho Phonology or APP.

It was the Tomatis Method which led to the discovery of ear and voice interrelationship: the voice can only reproduce what the ear hears. One of the causes of learning problems is the inability to listen.

The Tomatis Method allows children and adults alike to improve their listening skills for better and improved learning skills in a non-invasive and drug-free way. This can be coupled with occupation and/or speech-language therapy and/or special education services.

Listening and communication are the targeted learning modes wherein the auditory stimulation between the ear and the voice are given focused to stimulate the ear’s ability to listen and the brain’s ability to understand what is being heard.

The Tomatis Method makes use of the Music of Mozart because of these three elements: rhythm for human balance, harmony for reaching emotions and melody for the intellect.

The Tomatis Method also uses Gregorian Chant (which by the way, our nun teachers had us learn to sing via Latin songs) because of its proportional beat that is close to the respiratory rhythm. This beat has a succession of sequences of unequal length said to be found in ocean waves that come one after the other but not identical.

The Tomatis Method re-trains the listening system through:

  • use of electronically modified music and language to improve auditory information processing
  • enhances the ability to know the difference between frequencies which are all necessary for language development and auditory information processing
  • use of Electronic Ear

Why is Listening an important factor in Learning? continue reading this entry »

With so many special education schools/centers mushrooming in the metro offering the “best special education programs“, parents have difficulty choosing the one that best suits the required helpful programs for their special needs child(ren).

For those with teen-aged children, however, their choices are few regarding the right placement because only a handful offer college courses and these usually are two-year associate courses.

Others choose to go the practical educational programs by way of technical and skills-based courses like those with computer and culinary skills among others. These alternative career options are nothing to be ashamed of, if some parents feel their children are “degraded” without a four-year degree course.

Children diagnosed with special needs can show their best by developing skills through social enterprise. They not only learn practical social skills, they also learn to be independent.

In this article, children with autism learn social skills in a coffee shop while they earn money, it is heartening to read about children being independent learning money, people and social skills.

Isn’t this what parents want? After all, parents can’t be there at all times for their children.

I started this blog Teacher Julie, Filipina Special Education teacher to write about special education issues and my experiences as a special education teacher and I’ve a Teacher Julie Facebook page I’ve recently had the courage to make.

Then I wrote posts about my family and about being a parent under the parenting posts.

Through it all, it gives me immense joy when people I don’t know send emails, comments and thank-yous for helping them while they read about my experiences as a special education teacher.

I know I still have a lot to learn. I know I have my own shortcomings and that my students have adapted to my quirks 😀 I know too that I fall short of the expectations I set for myself.

And there were times when I ranted online when I shouldn’t have.

But in the end, when I see where my students are right now, I feel pride and joy that all the things we went through together are worth every second: teenage issues, challenges, expectations, bittersweet moments, future plans, discussed controversial topics where I have been privy to their journey through the turbulent teenage years.

The sleepless nights, the crossroads, the questions, the doubts now look like just little stumbling blocks that made their parents and I hope that we have shaped the path for a better future for them.

continue reading this entry »

Being a parent is difficult but being a parent to a child with special needs could be even more difficult. I hope I do not give the wrong impressions here.

Parenting a child with special needs can at times of a cycle of daily struggles about food, routine, fears, anxieties, learning difficulties, change of setting, varying moods, behavior changes and dealing with more than stares from strangers.

On top of that are therapy schedules, school placement and almost unlimited financial obligations among other things.

Alternative career options are not even in the list of what to achieve with some of them. Sad but true.

I once discussed these things with a caregiver about a child, my student, that she is taking care of. She said the parents are so worried that among all three children,  this child with special needs has the heftiest life insurance quotes.

She further explained that the parents thought it would make them feel that at least, they have taken cared of the financial aspect in the future. This is the greatest worry that parents of children with special need have: WHAT HAPPENS TO MY CHILD WITH SPECIAL NEEDS WHEN I AM GONE?

As a special education teacher, my unsolicited advise would be to look for the best doctor and therapists who will work best with your child. As parents, you should also know and understand the condition of your child and always be there, as much as possible, to guide the child in the direction you and your team has set.

As parents, be on the lookout for tell-tale signs of your child being “off” the developmental milestones.

Remember that Early Intervention definitely works.

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