TC204: Embracing Special Needs Teaching with Selena Pistoresi - Top Music Co
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TC204: Embracing Special Needs Teaching with Selena Pistoresi

By Tim Topham | Podcast

Aug 21 2020

Embracing Special needs Teaching with Selena Pistoresi

In today’s episode, Selena Pistoresi joins us to talk about special needs teaching from the viewpoint of respecting neurodiversity and presuming the competence of students.

Selena will share practical, ready-to-implement strategies you can adopt to confidently teach your neurodiverse students in a way that acknowledges their gifts.

Selena is a studio owner and piano teacher who has devoted her time and passion to teaching piano to students with special needs. She has vast experience in this specialization and generously shares her tips, experience, and knowledge in this conversation. Apart from teaching students, she also helps equip teachers with mindset tools and curriculum to teach students with special needs and to help their studios flourish.

Transcript of the Show about Special Needs Teaching

If you’d like to download a PDF transcript of this episode, please click below.

In this episode, you’ll learn success tips for special needs teaching:

  • [03:30] Selena shares how she came to specialize in teaching students with special needs.
  • [05:37] A peek at what her studio looks like now.
  • [06:50] The definition of special needs.
  • [08:12] The most common special need seen in her current students.
  • [09:35] The idea of talking to people or parents about terminologies.
  • [10:18] Most challenging things about teaching special needs students.
  • [12:27] Enjoyable and amazing parts of working with special needs students.
  • [14:08] Talking to parents about diagnoses – is it necessary?
  • [14:57] First step to building a strong teaching foundation and relationship with a special needs student.
  • [15:43] Considerations on the physical environment of your studio to accommodate students.
  • [17:02] The importance of providing structure in lessons.
  • [17:56] Do games work in the same way on students with special needs?
  • [19:45] Why it’s not recommended to use methods.
  • [21:28] The impact of COVID-19 on her teaching.
  • [22:39] The involvement of parents in teaching students online.
  • [23:14] Other tips for teachers moving online with their students
  • [25:36] Key topics that will be covered in our upcoming webinar about teaching students with special needs on August 24, 2020.
  • [27:47] Final tips and thoughts from Selena.

Links Mentioned

About our Guest

Selena Pistoresi has been a piano teacher for over a decade. She owns Notable, a studio in San Francisco, California, where she specializes in working with students with special needs. She equips teachers all over the world with the mindset tools and curriculum to teach students with special needs and to help their studios flourish.

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Thank you for tuning in!

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Just make sure you try out some of the ideas before they get lost in the business of your next lessons!

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About the Author

Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular TopCast show, blogs regularly at and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.

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