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Conservatory education of a musical savant with autism: a case study in Turkey

Sule Erden (Department of Primary Education, Cukurova Universitesi, Adana, Turkey)
Gonul Reyhanoglu (Department of Turkish Language and Literature, Hatay Mustafa Kemal University, Antakya, Turkey)

Advances in Autism

ISSN: 2056-3868

Article publication date: 16 August 2019

Issue publication date: 30 August 2019

249

Abstract

Purpose

Savant syndrome, a very rare condition in the world, refers to individuals who have extraordinary talents but might have disabilities that prevent them from maintaining their life. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the views of conservatory instructors about the education of Buğra Çankır (BC), a musical savant with autism.

Design/methodology/approach

As it was difficult to communicate with BC and elicit his views, interviews were conducted with his teachers, who had similar experiences in his music education process. The participants were six instructors who worked as full-time instructors in the conservatory. The participants were administered a semi-structured focus group interview form that described the difficulties, experiences, perceptions and feelings they had in their interactions with BC. Data obtained from the study were subjected to content analysis methods performed by the researchers; analysis involved identification of the codes and themes and formation of sub-themes and codes in line with these themes.

Findings

Results showed that the participants had difficulties in teaching BC because of having insufficient knowledge about his features. In addition, while planning the conservatory education processes, the participants were found to redesign the teaching content considering the features of the student.

Research limitations/implications

The present case study is important in terms of revealing the problems experienced in the education processes of these individuals. More detailed qualitative studies or action research could be utilised in studies to be conducted in the future.

Originality/value

BC’s educational experience is the first case for educational institutions and instructors in Turkey.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interests. The authors would like to thank to BC, who created the present study, and his family for accepting to participate in this study. The authors also thank to Rectorate of Iskenderun Technical University (ISTE) and Directorate of ISTE Mustafa Yazıcı State Conservatory for giving the permission and support required for the data collection phase. The authors would also like to give the heartfelt thanks to ISTE Mustafa Yazıcı State Conservatory instructors for sharing their views and experiences.

Citation

Erden, S. and Reyhanoglu, G. (2019), "Conservatory education of a musical savant with autism: a case study in Turkey", Advances in Autism, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 282-292. https://doi.org/10.1108/AIA-11-2018-0046

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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