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Drum therapy is gaining in popularity as a means of reaching children and adults with autism.
Some experts contend that drumming helps individuals access their right-brain which controls emotions, intuition, artistry and relaxation. This is of particular benefit to the child with autism and can provide a type of neurological re-patterning for a concrete thinker.
Drum therapy encompasses hand/eye coordination, vestibular movement and visual perception. How to hold sticks, where to strike the instruments and necessary body movement are all part of an occupational therapy lesson come to life in a meaningful way. Drumming also provides a functional activity that supports language skills such as categorization, sequencing, predicting, turn taking, listening, problem solving and following directions. The complexity and “call and response” action of drumming mimics and encourages human speech. The structure and repetition of drumming appeals to individuals on the autism spectrum and gives them an outlet for their emotions and a means to channel their energy.
Being part of an ensemble is a valuable experience for anyone, but especially for the child or adult with autism challenged by social skill deficits. Finding people who share their special interests
is the surest path to friendship for those with autism spectrum disorders.