Resources to Help Teach Students with Anxiety and ADHD
Hello, everyone. I am wondering if anyone knows of resources, or has insight/advice, on the ways a private music instructor can modify teaching methods to help students with anxiety disorders/ADHD to enjoy and get the most from lessons, and not to exacerbate their condition. These are hard workers and good students who wish to continue to play music beyond high school. To be clear, I am referring to an actual diagnosed anxiety disorder and/or ADHD, and not implying that the student just has a hard time concentrating or struggles with performance anxiety.
Thanks in advance!
Not sure of any resources. I have a decent amount of experience with ADHD students, though. In my experience it has always been a "learn as you go" type of situation. Patience and low expectations were the best counters to most of the issues I encountered.
I have one particular student in mind who is an upperclassman in high school. He's been my student for several years, and I think I've managed to strike a balance between working on his music, and taking breaks (mostly just to chat about anything he feels like talking about). I definitely struggle knowing that he has very high potential that is somewhat compromised by not being able to focus more, but he seems to be getting what he wants from lessons in that regard. My bigger concern is that I'm aggravating his anxiety condition, as he has been cancelling more frequently due to "needing more time to be prepared" for his lesson, or expressing more often that he is having anxiety about his lessons. My method to address this is to try to make the goals and ways to achieve those goals very clear from week to week, so there's no surprise in what I'll ask to hear. I'm sensing, though, that this may not be helping.
As a child psychologist I treat young children with anxiety (also children with Autism or other disabilities and anxiety). I don't know if any of what I do applies for this older student and anxiety about lessons but in case it might: For kids afraid of making mistakes in school work we practice making mistakes on purpose (confering with the teacher) - what would happen? It may be useful to talk over with your student what would happen if he were unprepared, if he messed up dreadfully in a lesson, and so on. I also use alot of humor. I wonder if it could be useful to experiment with doing some of the TwoSetViolin Hillary Hahn stunts together like playing switching hands https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwsnIoFXrt0. The idea is to increasingly feel, emotionally, less anxious about messing up, and a humor state is more or less the opposite of an anxious state This can also take away the dread, the 'what if' aspect (what if i sound terrible) as it guarantees one will sound terrible.
Karen’s background and promising suggestions serve to underscore the fact that Kelly will have to choose how far down the therapeutic road to travel. At some point you will have to draw a line between what you can reasonably expect of yourself as a teacher and the things which a therapist can provide.
Yes agreed Andres, good points. And if a therapist is involved ultimately, getting the child and family permission to be in touch and collaborate may be very useful.
As someone with General Anxiety Disorder, OCD facial tics and ADHD it's a blessing that my teacher allows me moments to breathe and reflect before jumping around in the lesson. Sometimes,something as simple as deep breathing with violin and bow down at my sides, just clearing my head and getting out of that anxious state of mind makes all the difference in the world.
Another way to think about this kind of problem is that depending on the level of disorder a student has, you become more of a therapist than a violin teacher. At least, this has been what I've come to accept about the challenge of teaching students from all different backgrounds.
Maybe a way to think of it is adapting the teaching to fit the individual student. How much and how to adapt, varying from how one normally teaches. Some kinds of alterations are very easy to do, giving a moment here and there, checking in more, other variations may be more of a stretch or harder to figure out. It may be that knowing what kind of difficulty in the student would benefit from what sort of change or accomodation in teaching would be useful.
There is no simple solution to ADDiot training. Dedicate yourself, train yourself, arm your heart and mind with strategies and tactics before you need them, so YOU are ready when your learners need you to be. Once you start making connections with your learners, word gets around. You'll be overwhelmed with ADDiots and enjoy the affective joys the bring to those who seek out their creativities, dedications, etc.
I supposedly have adhd, and some anxiety problems (a little). What works for me is: don't rush me. It's my time, not yours. I'm paying you.