Integrating students with disabilities into a regular education classroom is a commonplace practice today. The music classroom is no exception to this rule. Goals for students with disabilities in this setting are often established by special education staff and usually focus on non-musical skills. Objectives centering on musical skills are generally not established.
Little has been written about strategies for meeting the needs of students with special needs in the regular music class setting. The purpose of this project was to provide a model for the learner outcomes and instructional strategies for these students.
The subjects of the study were two nine-year-old Caucasian males who were members of the same third-grade regular education classroom. David has a seizure disorder that has caused periodic convulsions, resulting in brain damage. Levi is diagnosed as having spastic hemiplegia and cerebral palsy. I began by collecting a body of data about each of the subjects. This was done through extensive review of their case files, IEP’s and interviews with their case managers. Specific learner outcomes for each child were then formed and pre-tested. The objectives were then further refined and modified. The selected learner outcomes for each child dealt with maintaining a steady beat, participating in classroom singing and single asymmetrical tracking movements (Weikart, 1989). The subjects were pre-tested once more. Following the second pre-test, development of instructional strategies began. These were implemented throughout the course of the year.
At the end of the study, a post-test was conducted to determine which, if any, of the established goals were met by the subjects. Improvement was seen in all areas, although each of the subjects met the established criterion for only one of the objectives -- the goal of participating in classroom singing.