Skip to main content

Orff instrument social story for child with autism

I have a second grader with Asperger Syndrome (part of the autism spectrum). He has a continual problem of hitting people with mallets when we do Orff instruments. We need a social story!

Social Stories

Social stories are used to remind autistic children of social norms and procedures. They can be used for everything from sitting in the car to attending a public performance. Since autistic children require frequent repetition of directions and the breaking-down of directions into component parts, these stories save a teacher lots of time and frustration from such repetitions.

The Initial Meeting

I met with my principal and the autistic child and we discussed what he did in class that was dangerous. I said, "We are going to write a social story that you will read every time we do instruments in class."

Child: Why do I need to do that?
Teacher: To remind yourself how to be safe with the instruments.
Child: Is it going to be long?
Teacher: No, maybe three lines.
Principal: A line on each page. That's not long.
Child: That's a big waste of paper. Why would you waste so much paper?
Teacher: It takes much less energy for you to remind yourself and behave well than it does to send people to the nurse or take time to talk about problems. It's worth it.
Child: (skeptical look)


So I'm going to write the story and then take pictures using the school camera of the child doing the things the story describes. I will print out the story and keep it in my closet for him to read each time. If he has trouble, he can sit apart from the class and read the book.

Here's the story. Feel free to use it and insert pictures of your student(s) in them. If you have access to a school psychologist, run it by them and see what they think of it. I welcome comments or emails on this topic!

When I play Orff Instruments (picture of instruments on cover)

My space is a cube. The cube is defined by four outer points : The back legs of my chair and the sides of the Orff instrument. (picture of child in a chair with the instrument and the points marked.)

The points extend up to the ceiling and down to the floor. (same picture with lines drawn to ceiling and floor.

Staying in his personal space keeps me and my classmates safe.

Sometimes I share an instrument. When I do, my front space is my half of the instrument. No mallets allowed in another person's space. (Picture child with instrument in front of him with mallets on half of the instrument. Maybe another with mallets on the other half too)

I listen to Mrs. Gonsalves. Her instructions tell me what I am supposed to play.

If I am  not sure what to do, I raise my hand to ask a question.

The teacher makes me wait sometimes. That is frustrating, but I wait patiently. (Picture of teacher holding finger up to tell student to wait and student raising hand)

When it is time to rotate, I move to the next spot and figures out what my new personal space is: back of chair, tips of Orff instrument, hands in his own space. (Picture of student standing and preparing to rotate his position) (Picture of him at another instrument in new personal space.)


Popular posts from this blog

D, Popsicle Stick and Paper Plate Kalimba!

Back to the Orffabet! Today's letter is D, the shape of the popsicle prongs on a homemade Kalimba!

Lisa Lehmberg of the University of Massachusetts, has agreed to share this portion of her book chapter. Hurray, Lisa! Let's make a Kalimba out of popsicle sticks, paper plates, and some scrap wood!
You'll need: two small, sturdy paper platesone wood block (3cm x 7cm* x 1cm) To convert to inches click here.  This block is inside the plates and keeps them from collapsing.7 cm* piece of thin plywood five flat popsicle sticks7 cm* strip of flimsy wood moldingbrads or small screws (optional)paper gluewood glue*the length is determined by the size of the paper plates. These measurements are for the structural stability of the instrument, NOT the intonation. Just eyeball or loosely measure the wood.
Glue a block of wood to a paper plate near its edge. Glue another paper plate (plates facing each other) to the original plate and the wood block. Spread glue on both the rims of the…

Liquid Ass

So we've had another school shooting. By the time I post this, we will have had a few more. The NRA and President Bone Spurs would like us to arm teachers. Shooting another human being is not natural. Killing is not natural. Self-defense only feels natural when hand to hand combat is involved. Guns, even in the heat of  battle, are abstract. Perhaps the primary reason the United States has a volunteer army instead of a drafted one is that drafted soldiers are far less likely to actually fire at the enemy when the time comes. The kill instinct has to be trained into a soldier. It isn't natural, and it takes its toll on the soul. Plus, you'll probably miss and shoot an innocent student and die anyway.

So I offer a humble alternative. Well, maybe two, but one of them is actually entertaining.

1. ALICE training. Click on this. It's helpful.
2. Liquid Ass

Developed as a joke product, Liquid Ass makes an excellent deterrent to the progress of a shooter. Shooters expect thei…

"P", The Bucket Routine for older students

Today's Orffabet letter is P, for the shape of buckets and sticks when they are in storage in our guest teacher's classroom.

The following post and series of videos is for Upper Elementary, Middle School, or High School Students.  This is a rare opportunity for you to learn a routine without having to go to a workshop or Orff level.  You will learn the routine as your students would.

John is a teacher in the Worcester Public Schools.  He has taught this routine to Upper Elementary students as an after school program.  John's students worked on the routine for an hour or so every day for 6 weeks.  To see John in an earlier post, click here.

The "students" in this video are Orff Level I students in the Worcester Public Schools class of 2010.  They learned the routine in a 90 minute session with Level III students who already knew it.  Here is the routine after those 90 minutes.

This routine, inspired by African dance and Orff body percussion, is well outside the …