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Autism and Sensory impairment

What effects does it have?

Drum and percussion therapy is gaining in popularity as a means of reaching students with Additional Needs. The objectives are increased and improved confidence, socialisation and the reduction of anxiety and behavioural problems. Additionally, 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. This is also and excellent platform for learning focus and commitment. Research has shown that studying and creating music may help improve your capacity to learn other subjects and get better grades overall.

How do we achieve this?

We provide tailored packages of tuition which are designed around each unique person that we teach. Prior to any tuition commencing we carry out a formal assessment on each student thus ensuring we have all the information we need to proceed with tuition and in a safe environment. We spend time setting the service up initially and communicate very transparently with the whole family ensuring expectations are clear at the beginning and outcomes are agreed.
If a child has yet to be diagnosed we spend time with the parents to establish how their child may react and what problems may arise, finally agreeing the best tuition method to be used. A lot depends on the state of mind of the student when they arrive for their lesson. The students set the mood �do they want to play today? If not, we don’t play but will examine other areas of tuition.

Apparently, the human brain works very much like musical note patterns. The style and depth of music plays a role in this as the thought patterns that arise while creating music help increase language learning, math skills and social skills. 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. Drum and Percussion therapy also provides a functional activity that supports language skills such as categorisation, sequencing, predicting, turn taking, listening, group working, 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.

What kinds of concepts and goals can be addressed and met with rhythm?

- Attention to task

- Fear of failure

- Stress relief

- Interpersonal dynamics

- Individual empowerment

- Active listening

- Interactive cultural learning

- Learn a sense of musical timing

- Hand eye coordination

- Small muscle development

- Fine motor skill development

- Mood improvement

- Having fun

- Create a sense of camaraderie and connection

- Cooperation

How do we evidence this?

A student diagnosed with autism joined the Academy 5 months ago and had never played drums before. Firstly we needed to psychologically ‘open the door and check the student was happy for Carlos to go in, if the student ‘shut the door he started again. Carlos used the mirror technique to teach this young boy to play the drums, however this was after gaining the trust of his student first. Carlos says “Patience was the key to earning this young boys trust thus making a connection, then I wait and repeat this until the connection is verified. I use eye contact to gain trust and get close to the student. This student was made to feel valued which helped fulfil his psychological needs. This student showed vast improvement each week he attended his lessons and after only 5 months became talented and confident enough to play in a local band. He practises constantly so improves through repetition.


Tano Drums is focusing on building on the success of teaching students with Additional Needs. We have a role to play in supporting more people to be able to achieve their chosen outcomes to satisfy their emotional, psychological and physical well-being. We also have a role to play that may enable students to gain employment in the community. For students with additional needs their education cannot be one size fits all. There has to be a greater understanding and time spent with each student to find out the best method of tuition for them individually. Carlos has established many different methods of teaching students thus ensuring they achieve the best results and enjoy the time they spend in their lessons. For example a student with Autism may relate moods to colours and the volume of your voice. Carlos finds that students often want extra time at the end of their lessons as they enjoy their lessons and the achievement they have made. The studio has earned respect and a good reputation locally. We have enabled students to improve their skills and meet their psychological, emotional and physical desires, thus enhancing their health and well-being. The local authority, community and private individuals will see the benefits of this long term. We also have wheelchair access .

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