Drumming & Autism Training

Drumming & Autism Training with Jim Donovan M.Ed., is a training program designed to show ASD professionals how to facilitate strategies using music and rhythm with people with ASD. These clinically proven techniques were developed and tested at Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA and are designed to meet goals such as: (1) increased attention to task,  (2) non-verbal expression, (3) socialization and (4) stress reduction for individuals on the Autism spectrum and other disabilities.

 
This time of year is always difficult when working with elementary children. We always begin each music class with drumming, so I began including the “stopwatch” exercise last week to help my classes focus. What a difference! (I also tried this last night with my 4-year-old to help him get to sleep... amazing!)

We’ve also been implementing some of the drumming exercises with our severely autistic students. It has been wonderful to watch them light up with excitement at the sight of the instruments! Several of the students even have parts of their IEPs structured around drumming.

Your work continues to make a difference in the lives of children... beyond what you may ever know. Thank you!
— Travis Leap Elementary General/Vocal Music Claysburg-Kimmel Elementary School
 
Doctor using drumming to make a connection.

Doctor using drumming to make a connection.

Engagement

Drumming & Autism training helps you to learn how to musically engage the people you work with through a variety of methods such as "Percussion Intervention" which has been shown to significantly improve their attention to task in children with Autism and increase their overall level of engagement with caregivers. Research so far has demonstrated average increases in attention to task of 189% in as little as 12 weeks.

Socialization

Group music making gives people with social challenges an alternative way to communicate and be in community with others without the worry of being "good at music". Drums and percussion are remarkably effective ways to bring people together in an enjoyable way. Drumming & Autism training offers your clients fail-proof opportunities to make music with others on their terms in a welcoming container of safety.

Stress Reduction

Drumming & Disabilities training infuses the natural ability of rhythm to calm the human mind and body.  Through the deliberate use of tempo, instrument choice and timbre, you can help people with ASD to release excess energy and become more calm- naturally.

 
I used Boomwackers for 10 minutes in class today to help reinforce the rhythm and pronunciation of vocabulary words. It went well in all of my classes, but the most notable difference was in my class with 14 IEP students (which also includes three emotional support students and one autistic student).
A few notable changes:
No one asked to repeat directions
Fewer incidents of side conversations during class discussion
Fewer incidents of redirection
Students were attentive during whole class discussion
In this class, one student is followed by a TSS. The TSS noted that the change lasted into the next class as well. She could tell the difference in the attention-to-task of the students who had my class versus the ones that didn’t.
Thanks for affording me this great experience!”
— Kimberly McElhatten - NBCT
 
Jim Donovan working with a mixed group of children with ASD and general population.

Jim Donovan working with a mixed group of children with ASD and general population.

 

What will you learn?

By the end of this training you will know. . .

  • A philosophy of inclusive and accessible facilitation.
  • Methodology for creating safe, accepting and positive environments.
  • Methodology and examples of four Percussion Intervention foundation templates.
  • The research behind the techniques.

By the end of this training you will be able to. . .

  • Facilitate percussion intervention techniques with children on the Autism spectrum and other disabilities.
  • Adapt percussion intervention techniques to their own specific client needs.
  • Design their own unique percussion interventions
 
Jim Donovan leading a training with a mixed group of ASD professionals, parents and caregivers in Pittsburgh, PA.

Jim Donovan leading a training with a mixed group of ASD professionals, parents and caregivers in Pittsburgh, PA.

 

FAQ

I have never facilitated, taught music. Will I be able to do this? Yes. Drumming & Disabilities Training welcomes persons of all experience levels including those with no musical or teaching experience. You will not need to know how to read musical notation, nor will you need a background in music theory. The training is designed to take you as you are and give you the skill sets you need to begin creating your own rhythm-based interventions. 

I already have music therapy, musical teaching and/or facilitation experience. Will I learn anything new at your training? Yes.
If you already have music therapy, musical teaching and/or facilitation experience, you may be familiar with some of what will be shared. That being said, this training is unique in the way it shows you how to both perform and create your own unique interventions. 

Is a Percussion Intervention Music Therapy? No. 
While Drumming & Disabilities Training and Music Therapy both share the tool of music in their respective approaches there are important differences. Music Therapy is a highly regarded field in which the practitioners spend many years of schooling learning to apply a wide range of techniques to a many different needs and situations. Drumming & Disabilities Training teaches you adjunct interventions that anyone can learn in a short period of time. A typical training is 5-6 hours.

Do I need my own drum for the training? No, we provide drums and percussion for participants to use during the training. We can also connect your organization to cost effective instrument resources.

Trainees learning to think outside of the box.

Trainees learning to think outside of the box.

The training with Jim Donovan was one of the best trainings that I have ever attended. It was fun, energetic and very informative. I work with children who have autism and was very impressed with Jim Donovan’s knowledge of the varying levels of autism. He was able to teach us many things to help any and all of our clients. It is also obvious that Jim Donovan’s trainings could benefit anyone, whether for a career or personal well-being. This training was above and beyond what I expected. I would highly recommend the training to anyone and even hope to attend another one myself.”
— Amy Grenell - Therapeutic Staff Support, Alternative Community Resource Program