Many students with ASD benefit from adapted lessons. In our adapted piano lessons, the student plays the piano by ear or with the help of “letter notes,” rather than reading musical notes. Later, the student also learns to play chords. Reading musical notes can be taught, but it is done separately from playing the piano.
For students who have difficulty in motor planning, the Lifetime Learning for Autism teacher provides considerable physical prompts until muscle memory is formed.
Lifetime Learning for Autism can give consultations to parents who play the piano or to traditional piano teachers if they wish to learn how adapted lessons can be done.
Here is a link to an article in the Medscape titled, “More Evidence That Music Benefits the Brain” by Megan Brooks. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/814540
This article introduces recent studies which show various benefits, including structure changes in the brain, of music training. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/01/140103-music-lessons-brain-aging-cognitive-neuroscience/
Another link to a study which showed that musicians had a thicker corpus callosum which connects the left and right brains and facilitates interhemispheric communication. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8524453