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This study aims to improve the ability of dynamics musical skills of autistic student using Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) media. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) interventions have been shown to improve both communication and learning skills in children and youth with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities. There are many strategies educators use to aid a child to communicate. Visual aides have been used successfully in helping children with autism communicate. A picture system called AAC Media allows teachers to make pictures to help students on the spectrum communicate. The results of this research indicate that musical dynamic skills in music subject could be improved by using AAC media. The use of AAC media brings positive impact towards autistic students’ skills in musical dynamic. Therefore, teachers can apply the using of AAC media on music subject activities in school.
Autistic students have a prominent ability in the visual field. In learning for autistic students, another problem that arises is limited communication between teachers and students. All of this has become a very fundamental problem. Improved proficiency in communication by using images or other visual aids to help them in remembering and understanding is absolutely essential to develop. Some theories may seem exaggerated, but the consideration which is considered old can still be the basis for thinking. As one example Kissinger and Worley (2008) suggest that music can be used as a channel for communication as an improvement for theurapeutic or pedagogic reasons especially for children with developmental constraints. Especially for children with autism, music offers an alternative potential for communication channels.
A number of relevant researches explain that music has tremendous benefits not only for enhancing the communication skills or other skills of autistic children but can also serve as an intervention, both social intervention and behavioral intervention.
One of the lessons learned in children with autism is music learning. Teaching the art of music to autistic students is not easy, lack of methods and media causes autistic students are not easy in following the learning. Another difficulty that appears is because the constraints and communication of teachers are very difficult to teach with the usual approach, especially many music teachers in the school is a class teacher who is not a musical art background and vice versa. Many music art teachers who are in the field have less understanding of autistic students in learning. This becomes a problem not only in the field of music art learning and even other subjects. In learning activities of music art for students with special needs, teachers are required to modify learning tools, ranging from learning planning, learning objectives, materials to be taught, methods, media and evaluation used in learning activities. The selection of appropriate learning methods and media can make students more interested in the lessons that will be taught by the teacher. So, that is what conveyed by the teacher is well absorbed and can help students to have a good knowledge of music art. It can facilitate in playing musical instruments. Musical instruments used variety types, such as from piano instruments, keyboards, drums, or guitars can be used in music art learning for autistic students. However, the use of keyboard instruments is easier to use than piano because the keys are much lighter when pressed than the piano, given that autistic students generally have obstacles in their motor skill. The keyboard has the ability to play the rhythm with a variety of variations so that students can choose a rhythm that is liked and not monotonous. The keyboard also has a metronome so there is no need to use a separate metronome when the autistic student learns the beat.
The dynamics of music is an important part of music learning. The dynamics of music are added in a song or piece of work to express how a person feels who plays or creates the song. Dynamics deals with other musical elements, such as tempo, which is also part of the musical expression. How autistic students can express their feelings when playing a song so they can use the right dynamics. By playing the dynamics of music, students can recognize the various expressions in a song.
To further facilitate the process of understanding, then for autistic students who have a visual oriented learning style, the development of augmentative and alternative communication systems (AAC) is required. This system is also known as AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) in line delivered by McCormick & Shane in Noel Kok Hwee Chia (2009). Alternative communication is a techniques that replace oral communication for individuals who experience barriers in speech or are unable to communicate through language. While augmentative communication is the rules and tools / systems that can improve the ability of verbal communication in the reality of everyday life. Therefore, AAC media is expected to be used in improving students’ autistic musical ability, especially dynamics, either in delivering lesson materials or in daily music playing activities. Forms of AAC media of various kinds both formal have been made such as PECS, Compic and so on also made their own. The functionality of an individual’s communication should be evaluated based on actual outcomes in response to the demands of the daily environment.
Results and discussion
Based on research that has been done, researchers described the data of research to see how far the influence of intervention provided through the use of AAC Media to improve the ability of basic dynamics in children’s music arts learning
This research to be successful and has increased if the acquisition of scores that appear in each instrument the ability of musical dynamics has increased by comparing the acquisition of scores at each stage of the condition. The results of giving intervention conditions (B) through the use of AAC media show that the acquisition of musical dynamics ability scores has increased compared to the results of measurements and data collection at the baseline condition (A). Ability increases in all instruments.
The subjects received the highest total score in the fourth instrument (pressing with hard dynamics) which was 26 of the maximum score of 30, followed by the first instrument (hard dynamics) and sixth (playing songs with hard dynamics), which was 24 of the maximum score of 30, then the second instrument (dynamics soft) that is 23 of the maximum score of 30, and the smallest total score in the third instrument (type of dynamics), fifth (pressing with soft dynamics), and seventh (playing songs with soft dynamics) which is 22 of the maximum score of 30.
Based on the results of the research, the implication of this research is the use of AAC media can improve the ability of basic dynamics in the learning of music in autistic students. The ability of the music dynamics of autistic students will improve along with maximum effort. Maximum effort needs to be adjusted to the program and good cooperation from the teacher and the family. Without program adjustments and good cooperation, it is difficult to achieve dynamic capabilities in the learning of music in autistic students.
Conclusions and recommendations
Based on the research data, it can be concluded that AAC Media is a visual tool in the form of symbols or images used to facilitate the learning activities of autistic students. The use of visual strategy through AAC media can work better than the use of audio strategy, this is because autistic students have a good visual memory that has a visual oriented learning style. This media can be used as a learning medium for students who follow music learning activities of music.
The results of research on the ability of dynamics in music learning of autistic students with AAC media can be improved. This can be seen from the measurement and data collection of the dynamics of music ability at the stage of baseline condition (A) and stage of intervention condition (B). The results of measurement and data collection at each stage of the condition show that the ability of dynamics in the learning of music art has increased. The subjects studied can mention, differentiate, and play two types of musical dynamics, namely the dynamics of hard and soft.
On the basis of theoretical studies, the implementation of research in the field, as well as the collection and calculation of data, then the ability of dynamics in music learning of autistic students can be increased through the use of AAC media.
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