A couple of months ago, I attended an Alzheimer’s conference since I am now working in a memory care facility. It was extremely interesting and educational. The last workshop was a drumming circle. It was so much fun, relaxing, and cool. There are so many reasons for doing it: following directions, following rhythm, relaxation, fun, coordination, manipulation, sensory issues,and more.
I thought I would implement this idea at my special needs school. The first time it was a disaster in both classes. I was so upset. In fact, one of the high school students came up to me and said, “It was not a good idea to do a drumming circle in a classroom full of disabled students, especially those with sensory issues.” I questioned my decision to do it and I thought that I should do it again even though it was a flop. I spoke to my son who is a speech therapist and works in a public school program for life skills. He said it is especially the reason why I should do it.
The first thing I did the following week upon entering the classroom was tell the students that I never want to hear the word “disabled” again, and I went into why. I don’t like that terminology at all. We all have our issues, some worse than others, some we have to learn to improvise for, some we have to work hard to overcome. I told them about the reading issues I have and how I deal with them, and to look what I have done with my life. As well, I shared about my claustrophobia, and how I pretty much have overcome it.
Today the drumming circles were a success! A lot of us had a blast, a couple thought it was stupid and boring, but they were so cooperative. I think they were just trying to to act “cool.”
I took in all of my instruments, used the school’s bongos, and after I demonstrated how it was to be led, I gave the students ownership and they took turns leading. It was awesome!
If you have any questions, ask. I will share how I did it.
I will have to be creative and come up with some new ideas from time to time. I am planning on doing it once a month.
It made my day after a very rough start.