Using Music to Teach Children with
Communication Disorders, Autism,
and Other Disabilities
Music helps children become actively involved in the learning process. Rock and rap music can help children with language disorders and learning disabilities to develop skills that are critical for success in school and in social contexts. By incorporating music into language development programs, children make use of both the left and right hemispheres of their brains. Music with a strong beat appeals to children and motivates them to learn. Academic Communication Associates (acadcom.com) is the publisher of a variety of educational products for special education students that incorporate rock and rap music.
- Rap 'n Rock was created by James Bryer, a public school teacher in Florida, to strengthen basic language and literacy skills. Event sequencing, parts of speech, getting the main idea, question forms, synonyms/antonyms, and other skills are emphasized in this high-energy music activity program. The repetitive songs help students to remember information that is relevant to their performance in the classroom.
- Rap it Up, created by Mark Weakland, uses simple raps to build language and reading skills that are important in the early school grades. The program even includes rap beats without lyrics so that teachers and students can create their own raps.
- In Tune with Language is one of the most innovative musical language development programs published by Academic Communication Associates. This activity kit uses songs in conjunction with stories, worksheets, and other materials to build language skills and strategies for effective social interaction. Rock, rap, country, and other musical styles motivate students to participate actively in the learning activities. In addition to building language skills, the songs and activities help children to understand individual differences and to respect others as they interact with Perky Panda and other characters in the story-based learning activities. This program is great for children with communication disorders and short attention spans.
The constant beat that accompanies many rap and rock tunes appeals to many students who have autism and other disabilities. Speech-language pathologists and learning disability teachers throughout the country are using these innovative programs to teach skills relevant to core curriculum standards. To hear music samples from these instructional activiity kits, click here