If you would have told me two years ago my son would be playing an instrument, I would have said no way! Well, fast forward to years and here we are, he is not only playing electric guitar, but he is also playing bass and acoustic. I always knew that he loved music and wanted to learn to play, but we couldn’t find a program or a teacher what would take on teaching a child on the spectrum that has had a history of fine motor challenges.
My son’s charter school PUC Early College Academy For Leaders and Scholars (eCals) has a music program and when he told us that he was interested in taking it as an elective I was a little apprehensive because he had no musical experience with playing an instrument or reading music. We encouraged him anyway.
It was the best thing we could have ever done. Sometime as parents, we can be limiting our children out of fear, but that has all changed for our family!
My son has been in the school music class for two years now, and he is exceeding everyone’s expectations. We have discovered that he has a real gift for music, and this discovery has been life changing to say the least. We are so fortunate that his music teacher has had the patience to teach him and mentor him. Music classes at this charter are geared towards all abilities. They are inclusive and so supportive.
Enrique went from not knowing how to play to performing at school assemblies, school events, and at opportunities outside the school as well. He is mainly plays by ear and is slowly learning to read music. He is also learning other aspects of music like music theory and composing original riffs.
Music has been the lifeline for my son. He went from having no friends and being socially awkward to being asked to be in a band. And we are happy to report that he is developing friendships through music.
It took that special effort made by his teacher to bring meaning and a new found passion for my son.
My son was recently awarded for his community service and advocacy, and his teacher was there to support him as well when he was receiving the award.
The recent highlight for my son has been the acceptance to the California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA), month long summer program. His teacher wrote a letter of recommendation and encouraged him to apply, and he was just accepted with a full scholarship.
This teacher has inspired my son to want to pursue music professionally. We need more teachers like Aaron Smith!
Lisette Medina Duarte
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