Music Makes Sense
The Music Makes Sense Blog also contains 5 ways to use drumming as therapy. Although her article is directed towards Alzheimer's patients, I think these tactics could be useful for autism and other rhythmically challenged people as well:
- Entrainment: Beat a simple beat and watch the group converge on the rhythm. This is like using the ancient shamanistic drumming to evoke emotion and a sense of unity.
- Reminicing: use word rhythm drumming about favorite places, hometowns, foods, etc. Word rhythm drumming is simply breaking down words into their syllables and playing the syllable parts with the same emphasis and cadence you use while speaking the word. Different words can be used with different types of drums, shakers or bell sounds to create unique and fun drum activities.
- Themes: Themes such as holidays like Christmas or sports like baseball
- Dancing, moving, sharing: Moving to music also increases entrainment and meets goals and objectives set by medical staff to practice motor skills. Exercise routines, stretching, and relaxing can all be facilitated with drums and instruments. Try using an ocean drum to facilitate moving a parachute up and down. Another great idea is to end the group with very soft rhythmic drumming facilitated with ambient sounds of the ocean drum or rainstick and soft music while doing deep breathing and relaxation to simple imagery
- Rhythm Allies -- people who can help facilitate the beat. Could be staff or could be patients.