Autism has come a long way in terms of awareness and acceptance in our lives. With recent statistics reporting one in 68 children are diagnosed on the autism spectrum, there is no doubt that a child or adult with Asperger’s Syndrome or any other diagnosis “on the spectrum,” is a unique individual. But, also, the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) had continued to provide a natural path toward autism awareness.
Since research has shown the academic, social and emotional benefits of drumming for those who are not “on the spectrum” or managing other special needs, it stands to reason that drumming with an “Aspie” or Autistic child can also have the same benefits, and possibly more. As the “typical” brain responds to rhythm and is enhanced in a wide range of ways, those with an atypical brain function are not only given the opportunity to participate in the activity, but, the results can have even more of an impact.
Drumming within a classroom, school or even a therapeutic environment allows everyone the ability to participate, regardless of disability. This encourages a feeling of inclusion, of confidence in the self and the ability to maintain independence within a rich groove of togetherness. For any person who is considered “out of the box,” so to speak, that inclusion can be an exceptionally meaningful experience. On top of that, the cognitive benefits of drumming and rhythm are wholly beneficial, as is the natural ability to release stress and anxiety. Furthermore, communication issues can be strengthened, both directly and indirectly, through drumming and rhythm. For anyone diagnosed with ASD, communication is one of the more difficult skills to master, and communication applies to all other areas of life.
As April is Autism Awareness month, finding new ways to celebrate those individuals “on the spectrum” continues to be a driving force in the medical and academic worlds, today. Drumming is a fun, energetic and non-intimidating tool that can enhance the lives of anyone with ASD, as well as any teachers, parents, caregivers or therapists. Grab your drums and encourage your favorite “spectrum kid” to follow the rhythm… we bet that soon enough, you’ll be the one trying to keep up the beat.