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PMLD Music lessons or therapy?

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by gogglehead, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. gogglehead

    gogglehead New commenter

    Dear All,
    I feel very alone and out of my depth. I teach the whole school and have very little to build on. In the two weeks I've been at the new school I've realised that with the PMLD groups, I'm not really explicitly teaching music - I feel it needs to be a more theraputic and cross curricular type of experience. My music degree and many years of teaching are of little use to me.
    I've got the Flo Longhorn books teaching Drama and Music but I have many students who can't access this as they have no speech, minimal movement in addition to many other problems. Then there are vgroups with more mobility but they may have even more severe learning problems along with physical outbursts - if given an instrument or object some students hold it for a short time or thrown it back immediately.
    I have music therapy books on order from Amazon but I'm not sure how this works and if it is applicable to groups. I'm frazzled, spent all weekend trying to plan (paperwork is horrendous) and feel more inadequate now that I did on Friday...... [​IMG]
    Any ideas or advice would be much appreciated.
  2. dzil

    dzil Occasional commenter

    Get hold of the Welsh routes for learning document which is brilliant at showing a way of assessing and progressing work with puipls with PMLD (and it is very accessible to someone with little prior experience of working with pupils with PMLD)
    It's on the Welsh Assembly website.
    Once you've had a look to see what the pupils should be learning (could be reacting to soundes, for example) Then work out how you can use your subject to progress the pupils learning, starting from where they are at... rather than trying to teach your subject.
    You'll find it less frustratng and will see much better progress if you can do it this way..
    Good Luck, it's a steep learning curve but well worth it.
  3. Hello!

    Try looking up Soundabout. It's a music scheme using resonance boards. We use it with children with a wide variety of needs ranging from PMLD and Autism to general and severe learning difficulties. We had a person come into school to explain how use it, perhaps this would be a help?

    I hope things start getting better soon!


  4. Hi,
    I am currently specialising in this area for my MA dissertation and have lots of useful stuff . If you are on MSN and want a chat add me jazzy_girl84@hotmail.com
  5. I can't remember how I came across it but there's an interesting website called www.soundsofintent.org which has an excellent diagram illustrating the framework of musical development in the domain of PMLD.
    I definitely agree with the recommendation that you familiarise yourself with the Routes for Learning Assessment Tool as it illustrates the small steps you can identify to provide activities to practice, consolidate and generalise a skill. E.g. anticipating repetatively presented stimulus. This could be worked on by presenting prefered sounds form a students left, then right etc. It is very well explained in the document, I don't think I'm doing it justice.
    It is generally agreed that students with PMLD need pleanty of repetition so perhaps you could make things easier by introducing lessons in the same way, e.g. with a song that students each have the oppertunity to introduce themselves in, supported by familiar staff and/or technology such as BigMack switches. This gives you time to get to know tham and them you. I think it is good to end a session in the same way, e.g. with a calming piece of music and perhaps either dimming the lighting or switching it back on depending how you work.
    Perhaps you could pick topics to focus on each term or half term. There are so many different types of music, from calypso rhytmns to heavy metal, scarr music to rock and roll. I'm always amazed as to what students prefer and respond too. Only this week after observing a yr7 student with severe physical difficulties and no vision did the team realise that what he was actually respondintg too' in what we considered his favorite piece of music, was in fact the trumpet solo. So next week we will try some brass band music (If I can get hold of any) and as close to trumpet sounds as we can get on a soundbeam! Not sure if he will respond or enjoy it but it would be lovely to be able to offer him something new that he enjoys.
    I don't want to sound at all patronising but after teaching students with PMLD (although not music) for 4 years I realise how important enriching people's lives is. It isn't always easy to focus and appreciate that when in the middle of education, planning....progress....etc.
    Keep going, I'm sure you will get in the swing of things soon and once you find your feet it will be wonderful [​IMG]
  6. Hi there,

    I too have just started teaching Performing Arts in a Special Needs School, i am now in my third week and I am loving it, however i have to say that i too find it diffucult to teach my PMLD students. The school is fantastic and there seems to be alot of resources for me here to use, some that i still need to familiarise myself with!
    All my PMLD classes how double periods with me making there lessons 1.5 hours, i find it very difficult to fill this time and worry that the students are getting bored! I am glad i found your thread as there seems to be some useful links that people have put up.
    This is all a learning curve for me, i trained last year as a secondary music teacher, very different to what i am actually now doing! But i have to say i think applying to this job was the best thing i have done, i love it and find it incredibly rewarding i think what is now needed is a little bit of perseverance, research and trial and error!!

    Good Luck :D
  7. ScotSEN

    ScotSEN Senior commenter

    Thanks for posting the link to sounds of intent. I've had a had a look and it seems very interesting.
  8. I have been working on the sounds of intent group recently so if you would like some advice on how we are implementing it in our school please feel free to email me (address in above post).
  9. hmcmusic

    hmcmusic New commenter

    I am a teaching assistant of 28 years and run a small business writing and producing music resources for children with additional needs.
    I was fed up with using sub standard material so decided to produce my own.
    All of the material is flexible and can be adapted for use with children and adults with PMLD.
    I use much of the material delivering sessions in the school i work in and also for adults in residential establishments.
    Have look at

    Best wishes

    Len Baldwin

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