DOI

This paper reflects upon the potential mediation of medical and social interpretations of disability through informing instrumental tuition with the strengths recognised in the learning profile of children with Down’s Syndrome (Fidler, 2005; Dykens, Hodapp and Evans, 2006; Davis and Escobar, 2013). The learning profile is explored and critically discussed (Kendall, 2017), and its reductionist, deficit-based potential identified; before considering the potential value of applying the evidence-based phenotype to musical provision. While a medical model of disability may interpret this learning profile as a list of deficiencies (Goodley, 2017), this paper proposes that an informed, strength-based approach to teaching could empower students and challenge barriers to participation through suitably tailored provision, providing a “maximally supporting learning environment” (Wishart, 2002, p. 18; cited in Germain, 2002, p. 53). This framework therefore aligns more closely with a Nordic relational model of disability that mediates the medical and social models, recognising disability as an interaction between impairment and the environment (Kristiansen and Traustadóttir, 2004; cited in Goodley, 2017). Three case studies are presented to demonstrate and emphasise the range of personalities and individual differences between musicians with Down’s Syndrome, but also how this evidence-based approach can be applicable to many students. A summary considers how raising awareness of constructive strategies for informed provision could develop confidence amongst practitioners, and thus in turn increase provision of relevant musical opportunities to students with additional learning needs, including Down’s Syndrome. In a critical conclusion, the notion of ‘differentiation’ as perpetuating a dominant ableist discourse is considered (Moore and Slee, 2012; Penketh, 2016), and recommendations made with regard to furthering connections between critical social practices associated with Disability Studies and music education (Howe et al., 2016; Bolt, 2016).
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch Studies in Music Education
DOIs
StatePublished - 5 Aug 2019

    Research areas

  • pedagogy, differentiation, disability, learning profile, Down's Syndrome, models of disability

ID: 2196402