impulse control

5 Main Benefits of Drumming for Children With Special Needs

5 Main Benefits of Drumming For Children With SN

Does your child have challenges with speech and articulation? Eye-hand coordination? Or even having difficulty with social skills or social cues? Then drumming maybe the right tool for your child to overcome and build on some of these challenges.

There has been a lot of research on the benefits of drumming over the past few decades. Drumming has been shown to help reduce depressions, boost immune systems and build self-esteem. In this blog I want to focus on five main benefits of drumming for children with speical needs.

1. Increase Communication and Speech

Drums can reinforce speech, vocalizations, sounds and even help with sentence building. You can use drumming to reinforce word syllables and then expand to full sentences. Have the child sound out each syllable or word as they simultaneously play it on the drum.

2. Support Eye-Hand Coordination/Motor Skills

Drumming can help strengthen upper body control, arm movement and increase eye-hand coordination, particularly if you use more than one drum. Drumming with mallets helps with reaching, grasping, fluidity of movement and fine motor skills.

3. Develop Social Skills

Groups drumming, with the proper facilitation, is a powerful exercise for people of all ages to strengthen social skills. Group drumming teaches children to listen, pay attention, turn-taking, sharing, and taking cues from one another.

4. Support Emotional Needs/Impulse Control

Drumming can help a child learn to regulate their emotions. It can be very useful for expressing emotions and to "get it out." Drumming can vent aggressions, and invite in a calmer state of mind, particularly improve impulse control.

5. Improve Self-Esteem and Fun!

Drumming is catchy and can be a lot of fun. If you have ever been in a drumming group you can surely attest to this. Drumming is a great way for children with special needs to play and to get physical exercise.

Drumming combines motor movement with auditory and visual feedback, which makes it a great tool for strengthening a variety of skills for children with special needs. Since drumming is multi-sensory, it facilitates greater engagement, encourages learning, brain function, and skill building all while having fun! I have seen drumming to be very effective for my clients. I hope you'll give it a try!

To get you started, I wrote a song that helps facilitate a fun drumming experience while working on various skills mentioned above. To download the full song, click on the image to the right, check it out and let me know what you think. Happy drumming!

You can also view my youtube video on how to make your own rhythm sticks! Click Here To View

For FREE songs, videos and tips on how to support children with special needs through music click here.

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Top 10 Christmas Gifts For Children With Special Needs

Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Children With Special Needs(600).jpg

At this time of year, parents often ask for Christmas gift suggestions for their child with special needs. For these parents, it can be quite challenging to find the right gift - a gift that is fun, not over-stimulating, and has some therapeutic value.

So in time for the holidays season, I have created a top-10 list of my current favorites. I have also included its potential therapeutic value under each link so you can see which gift would be best suited for your child. (Click on each item to view its description)

1. Sounds Shapes

  • Gross motor skills
  • Impulse control
  • Sensory input

2.  Cabasa

  • Fine motor skills
  • Stimulation and sensory needs

3. Ocean Drum

  • Relaxation
  • Sensory needs
  • Impulse control

4. Melodica

  • Fine motor skills
  • Oral and breath control
  • Eye-hand coordination

5. Ukulele

  • Fine motor skills
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Gross motor skills

6. Kazoo

  • Oral motor skills
  • Breath control

7. Legos

  • Fine motor skills
  • Joint attention skills
  • Task focus
  • Sharing
  • Turn-taking skills
  • Problem-solving skills

8. Eggspressions

  • Social skills
  • Emotional awareness
  • Emotional Development

9. Trampoline

  • Sensory input/needs
  • Gross motor skills
  • Balance/coordination skills 

10. Dizzy Disc

  • Sensory input/needs
  • Gross motor skills
  • Balance/coordination skills

 

I hope you discovered something new and useful from this list. If you have any toys that you would like to add to this list, please add it in the comment section below.

Happy Holidays!

John Mews, MA, MTA

For FREE songs, videos and tips on how to support children with music click here.

 

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Using Music to Help Children Develop and Strengthen Impulse Control

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a parking lot and your child keeps wandering away and you shout “STOP!” for fear they’ll get hit by another car? And their response was more like you said “RUN!” and they just bolt away from you? This might seem like a dangerous situation to you, but to your child it’s a fun game!

Children at a young age learn to play chase with family. They often run around the coffee table shouting, “I’m going to get you” or “I’m coming after you.” To a young toddler this is a fun interactive bonding game and they haven’t yet learned to differentiate dashing at home vs. dashing in public!

To change this, try making “STOP” a fun and playful game!

I would often see a child running down the hallway after a session.  The parent screams “STOP” and what do you expect? Yes! The child continues running around laughing! Then you feel like you have no control and are tempted to put them on a short leash right?  Well, you don’t need to. Here is one of the songs that I use to make the “STOP” game easy and fun, and you’ll find it works anywhere. 

I use the song “This is the way” and at the end we all stop…and freeze.  This is very important for young toddlers, and particularly children with special needs, because they often have difficulty with controlling their impulses. Working on these impulses will help your child gain self control and you will find improvements at home, at school, and in public places. STOP now means STOP and its FUN to STOP!

It may take several tries to learn the rules and enjoy playing the STOP game.  Remember to stay positive and reward your child when they do STOP and FREEZE!

Adding music and play makes learning fun for everyone!

The video on the right shows two ways in which I used music to develop and enhance impulse control. 

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Image courtesy of Chris Roll/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Chris Roll/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Video Blog: Making The Most With Mewsic:

Here are some musical adaptations on how you can help develop and strengthen impulse control in children.