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Thriving in the Midst of Chaos: Parenting With Special Needs Kids

Sep 23, 2021

Episode 108: Learning An Instrument When One Has Special Needs With Guest Delwyn McKenzie

In this episode, Delwyn McKenzie discusses the usefulness of learning an instrument for children with special needs. She grew up playing instruments, and made sure her children learned instruments, too. Early on in her childhood, her daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia. She noticed that her daughter had more difficulty learning an instrument than her other children did. This led Delwyn re-evaluate her teaching strategies to be inclusive for all children. 


To get your child involved in music, seek out group experiences. She recommends getting involved in singing and starting with a single stave rather than both treble and bass. When getting your child into learning an instrument, think about the style of teaching of the teacher and the style of learning of your child. Beware that playing by ear is helpful, but can make it harder to learn to read music later. Teach the child decoding skills before they learn to play an instrument.

Kids can start learning to play an instrument as young as 4, although they may have difficulty learning to read music later on if they learn this way. Difficulties children might have include difficulty with finger dexterity, eye distractions, not looking at the music notes, and distractions in the room. Make sure not to push the child farther than they can manage.

Playing music also improves confidence. Any type of performance, even in front of family or friends, can improve confidence.

Accent Music School
Suzuki Method


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Show Music:

Intro Outro: Intro Outro 2 by Mattias Lahoud under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Theme Song: 90s rock style by monkeyman535 under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Self Care Song: Green and Orange No Water by Duncan Alex under CC-BY 3.0 License (


Hosted by: Jessica Temple and Lewis Temple


Disclaimer: Our show is not designed to provide listeners with specific or personal legal, medical, or professional services or advice. Parents of children with health issues should always consult their health care provider for medical advice, medication, or treatment.

Copyright 2021 Jessica Temple