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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 64
Gender: Male
Posts: 28,576
Location: Long Island, New York

13 Jun 2022, 8:12 am

Drumming 'significantly improves' behaviour of children with autism

Drummer for just 90 minutes each week can improve the life quality of young people diagnosed with autism, according to scientists in West Sussex.

Experts from the University of Chichester found that learning to play the instrument tuned brain networks in autistic adolescents in as little as eight weeks.

Results showed that participants who improved their drumming skills showed fewer signs of hyperactivity, inattention and demonstrated better control of their emotions.

MRI scans also revealed changes to their brain function which, according to the study, were linked to overall behaviour.

“These findings provide direct evidence that learning to drum leads to positive changes in brain function and behaviour among autistic adolescents.

As part of the study, a group of participants with no drumming experience were given two 45-minute lessons each week across a two-month period.

Each volunteer, aged between 16 and 20 years old, undertook a drumming assessment and MRI scan before and after the sessions, while their guardians were asked by the researchers about recent behavioural difficulties.

The project was a collaboration between Chichester and the universities of King’s College London, Hartpury, and Essex working under their collective group the Clem Burke Drumming Project, named after its co-founding member and famed Blondie musician.

I do think this is more then the usual “breakthrough” treatment of the week. What is being taught is a constructive stim.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


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Joined: 15 Sep 2008
Age: 69
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13 Jun 2022, 10:39 am

Yes I've seen research saying that music helps general academic performance in practically everybody. And drumming would seem an easy way to start, because you don't have to worry about pitch so much.

I used to have a drum machine that got donated to a charity who used it to give some disabled kids some kind of freeform music practice. Possibly Downs kids. They said it worked quite well, the kids would just smack the buttons and hear the drum samples.

Even if there was no academic benefit, I'd approve of it just because it's something enjoyable.


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Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Age: 67
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Location: temperate zone

13 Jun 2022, 7:54 pm

Some years ago I saw a thing, kinda cross between a metal sculpture and vibraphone, with metal strips that you could hit to with little mallets to make musical tones. The trick was that it was a like zylophone/vibraphone, but tuned to ONLY the black keys on the piano (notes of the minor scale). So every combination of random notes you hit traced out a pleasant melody. If there were major key notes (like from the White keys) included you would have lots of dissonant combinations if you just hit it at random, and you would have to be a real musician knowing music theory to know which combinations of metal tongues to hit (ie be a real composer). It was meant to be theraputic for kids with autism, or whatever the condition was (saw this story before I identified with autism). But I can imagine that even NT adults who are non musicians would get addicted to feeling like a genius because it was so easy for anyone to randomly create tunes with it. You felt like Prince or Mozart. :lol:

But I havent heard anything about it since that one time I saw it on the news like 20 years ago.


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Joined: 15 Apr 2021
Age: 49
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Location: South Africa

14 Jun 2022, 6:19 am

I have seen kids be referred to drumming classes by an OT.

I think there is something here involving left, right coordination. Drumming (Often with a djembe drum) involves having left and right hands synchronized with each other which relates to the two brain hemispheres.
It's something I've had trouble with and I feel contributes to rhythmic issues generally, like dancing.
Poi is also something which can help with left right integration.

Ever onwards and upwards!