MTNA Conference; Monday, March 23, 2015: Pedagogical Strategies For Children with Special Needs


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Hold on to your seat because Melissa Martiros had a lot to cover in a short time!



  • Use the iPad for recording, (record self playing and send video).
  • You may need to break down to simpler… then move up from there.
  • Prompting- brings them back (based on students as far as what works).  If color coding, keep consistent and gradually fade out
  • Structure is very important, especially with kids with autism.
  • Develop rapport
  • Communication (non verbal, pay attention, most disruptive behaviors are communicative, make eye contact whenever possible, say what you mean- clear, direct, literal)
  • Reflective journaling after lessons (this will help you later in reminding you what works, what doesn’t, etc…)

Basic factors when teaching:

  • Keyboard geography
  • Rhythm
  • Notes
  • Active listening
  • Interpretation and expression
  • Imagination
  • Processing all

Additional factors:

  • Full body awareness and control
  • Ability to block out external stimuli
  • Ability to stay on task
  • Ability to establish working relationship with adult
  • Ability to retain, memorize and transfer knowledge
  • Understanding social clues
  • Communication and assessment and feedback

Parents you work with are going to know more than you ever will about their child- become a partner with them.


Regardless whether or not they have the label, you can see what is going on with the child and respond accordingly. You do not need a label in order to respond what is happening.

Put the child before the disability- respectful language (not “autistic” child, child with autism)

Other Tips:

Come up with a plan before behavior issues in what to do when behavior issues occur.

Transition time (before lessons begin). Some kids will need a time to transition from the outside world into lesson time. This can be as simple as getting a glass of water. Going to wash their hands, etc…

Help with sensory (ball or something to keep hands busy), drink of water…

Change activity you are doing (change to theory, etc…)

Physical activity (jumping jacks to get energy out, etc.) Allow child to stand if needed.

I noticed on Melissa’s website that she has a special needs blog coming soon. Here is the link so you have it when it goes live.



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