Any experience with autistic violin learners?
I was wondering if any of you had experience in teaching an autistic student, especially an adult one, to play violin. The point is that I am an autistic adult trying to learn the violin and am failing miserably. I just feel like it is impossible to actually make me feel comfortable in lessons. What happens is:
1. Traffic is noisy. If the lesson is quite far from home without mostly consisting of nature-like bycicle paths or parks leading me there I'm already quite done for the day by getting there and coming home.
2.Loud music instruments from other rooms confuse me and make me unable to focus.
3. Cluttery environments also tend to confuse me a bit.
4. Verbal instructions on how to move aren't really my thing. They have confused me in sport lessons and still do now. I need to see what you mean, because otherwise I most likely can't tell and will have to randomly guess.
5. I'm also not great with people touching me without warning. I usually can tell beforehand by the movements people make, but if I am stressed trying to guess what you do is really too much for me.
6. I'm kinda bad at figuring out what people want me to say. Trying to understand the social aspect of communication while at the same time trying to figure out the violin is a bit much for me.
7. I'm constantly scared to experience a shutdown in my lesson. Not only would that creep my teacher out but I would have paid for the lesson without really learning anything in most of the lessons time.
There you have it. I do like to learn the violin, but I can't really do it if I would need a day off just to get over the stress it is causing me. My sensory overwhelm is already bad in everyday life, so I can't afford a hobby that is causing me so much stress. Does anyone have experience on how that could work out? Did anyone work with an autistic person in lessons? What did you do to make it easier? Or are there even any autistic people here who could talk from experience?
I feel (rather than know..) that the teacher has to know exactly what you have told us, which you express so clearly.
What you wrote here is useful for any teacher to know.
Can you find a teacher who can come to your home? That might solve a number of your problems.
Aa a teacher, I think the most helpful thing you could do when approaching a new teacher would be to include the above list in your initial communication with them (probably in an e-mail). I personally couldn't do too much about number 2 (except maybe put you in an earlier or later time than average, when other teachers are less likely to be teaching or schedule you on a day when I am in a room surrounded by quieter instruments), but I would do my best to accommodate all other requests which are, in my opinion, very reasonable. In fact, I wish more students were able to communicate how they learn best as clearly as you do. If you know what a student prefers, it shouldn't be too difficult to demonstrate more rather than explain verbally and to always ask before touching a student (should be the norm for at least the first few weeks regardless of the student anyway).
It could possibly be easier in the beginning to have a few starter lessons by skype or video exchange to ease you into it. It might be especially useful if you have a teacher who would be open to doing some skype lessons initially with you maybe working in to some in person lessons as the teacher gets to know you better and understand what is and isn't helpful for you.
Maybe you could use an electric violin. That'll be less sound under your ear because most of it will be coming out of an amplifier and you can adjust the volume and the "tone", or even play through headphones and then all the noises around you will be minimized. This is the great thing about a digital piano as well.
Have you spoken with anybody at your University? Perhaps someone in the music department, if available can assist? You maybe able to find a teacher there or meet with a teacher after one of your classes in a quiet and distraction free area.
Perhaps ask your Dean of Students? I remember the one at my University was very helpful with all sorts of things. You could always send an email if appearing in person is not convenient.
Hi Jude; I can sympathize. Does the sound of harp remind you of pineapple?
This is definitely something that's not been fully explored on the teacher training end! I fully second the suggestions to look in to Skype or in home lessons if you're in sensory overload. Also make sure your current teacher knows about your preferences.
Jude, I will say communicate with your teacher about this and see if he/she can do something to accommodate it. Then you can find out what role you can play with this process.
I do like Julie’s suggestions. At a minimum, Skype will ease the hassles of the commute, as well open up options on teachers beyond your immediate neighborhood.
This thread restores my faith in humanity!
I wonder if a teacher used to working with younger children might be helpful for you? A lot of this is similar to the challenges I face working with <10 students on guitar.