Accommodating Asperger's: an autoethnography on the learning experience in an e-learning music education program
Farrell, Riley Jarrett
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A student with Asperger's Syndrome faces a complex myriad of learning disabilities and social difficulties. The co-morbid conditions of dyslexia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and anxiety further complicate Asperger's Syndrome. Asperger's Syndrome and these conditions, singularly and in combination, have the potential to significantly hamper a student's achievement and success in learning environments. I am a person with Asperger's Syndrome, formerly diagnosed as Autism Spectrum Disorder-High Functioning, engaged in Boston University's Doctorate in Music Education Program delivered via E-learning modalities. The research question, "How does the E-learning modality serve the needs of a student with Asperger's Syndrome in the field of music education?" was a direct product of my personal experience with the convergence of E-learning, music education and Asperger's Syndrome. Autoethnography was employed as the research strategy to explore this convergence. The primary data source was a journal spanning almost three decades in conjunction with artifacts and other data sources. The data analysis and interpretation was completed through self-reflective and selfnarrative writing. The findings of this study, suggest that while E-learning modalities present both positives and negatives for students with Asperger's Syndrome; the potential to alleviate many of the challenges they face makes this is an excellent alternative to the traditional classroom educational delivery method in the field of music education. Further this research highlights the importance for educators to reflect on their own teaching methods and the profession to continually evaluate the methods utilized in delivering content and assessing achievement.
Thesis (D.M.A.)--Boston University