Erin Parkes is passionate about helping children with special needs. For the past 1.5 years my son Jordan (autism, global developmental delay) has been having private lessons with Erin. Erin has shown a great ability to really understand Jordan. She has designed lessons which engage Jordan and allow him participate to the maximum of his ability. Jordan really enjoys his music lessons. He has benefited tremendously and has developed a strong appreciation for music.
David, Lotus Centre parent
Amongst staff there was an impressive detailed knowledge about each participants’ form of intellectual disability and an informed knowledge on how to work successfully with each individual… Programmes are not only tailored to targeted music development but also respond to the ‘sensory’ needs of the child. By giving the individual specific goals for learning in a non-school environment with defined thresholds of safe sensory perception participants are able to develop self-esteem and social interaction in a customized supported environment where they feel able to take risks and feel safe.
Dr. Deirdre Gribbin, Trinity College, Cambridge
I would like to tell you what music means to me. I always wanted to play a musical instrument but didn’t think I could learn piano. I love music so much because it makes me feel like I have found my inner core. That is what music means to me.
Tanya E., Lotus Centre student
My son has been taking private piano lessons with Erin since the Lotus Centre first opened in 2012. We were among the families who attended the first open house at the Schneider Road location that summer. My son had had an electronic keyboard for years and he enjoyed pushing the buttons to listen to the recorded tunes, but he had only just started showing interest in actually playing the keys. At the open house he was really excited to see a real piano in Erin's studio and kept running back in to play with it; he could hardly keep his fingers off the keys. So we signed him up for weekly piano lessons and since then Lotus Centre has become an important part of his life and continues to play a central role in his development.
Through Erin Parkes' excellent teaching, he has learnt to read, understand and play music, improved his fine motor skills and his ability to pay attention and follow instructions and most importantly, developed his ability to think abstractly. He has continued to make steady progress even during periods of time where he is struggling with school, social interactions and other aspects of life. Guitar lessons have helped strengthen his fingers further and improved the sense of coordination between his two hands. This has been quite challenging for him but his guitar teachers, Terry and Chris, have both been very patient and resourceful in thinking of ways to help him enjoy the lessons and make progress.
He has also been attending PD day and summer camps at the Lotus Centre, from the beginning, when it was sometimes just him and 2 or 3 others including Erin's sons, to the present time where there are now waiting lists for the camps. This tremendous increase in camp participants over the past few years is a testament to the need for such a program in our community. The Lotus camps in August serve as a helpful transition from the other camps he attends earlier in the summer, which mostly involve physical activity with a few craft activities, to a calmer setting that is more intellectually stimulating but still fun and exciting. My son enjoys getting to handle new instruments and having the opportunity to play in the keyboard room. The PD day and summer camps have also been an opportunity for him to develop social skills in a small group environment with the same core staff members from
one year to the next.
L.C., Lotus Centre parent
Erin Parkes and all the teachers at Lotus Centre are amazing people. Very kind and caring. My 3 kids learn music there and they love it And will continue to be with them. March break camps for Youssef has been a success and looking forward for the summer camp.
Nisrine, Lotus Centre parent
We’ve seen tremendous improvements in fine motor skill strength and coordination and also improved focus and attention – not to mention a love of music – since our son started with Lotus Centre a year ago. My only wish is that we had started lessons sooner.
Kathleen O’Grady, Lotus Centre parent
My daughter with an exceptionality began individual lessons with Erin Parkes in fall of 2012. I have been very impressed with Erin’s ability to be flexible and patient with my daughter and her (sometimes challenging) behavior. Erin has been able to capitalize on my daughter’s interest in singing and music to engage her and motivate her. Erin’s lessons incorporate the teaching of many important skills besides music, such as turn taking and following instruction. We believe that our daughter has greatly benefited from her lessons with Erin and would highly recommend Erin as a teacher to any child.
Dina, Lotus Centre parent