Mickey Hart, Grateful Dead drummer, author and world renowned percussionist, said it right yesterday in a post about Autism Day and his work with Hidden Wings.
Djembes, shakers, didgeridoos and claves – really any hand drum or percussion instrument – can unlock the brain of people living with autism at least for a moment in their lives at a drum circle experience.
Though I host public drum circle experiences as a business, I never was asked to donate my time and equipment to one in front of a captured audience of all autistic kids and adults before. It was a true honor.
As the father of an autistic son myself, no one needs to tell me of the true magical value music adds to his being. But to see it unfold in such a large public group of 30-plus “drummers” at last night’s Light it up Blue for Autism celebration and education fair at UMass Medical Center in Worcester was truly inspirational.
To witness their eyes lock on yours and other drummers in rhythmic step when many typically look quickly away, notice their wide smiles gleam with pride, and see those most locked away in life stay the longest playing and dancing in the circle was simply one of the most powerful times of my life and perhaps theirs, too.
Drums heal and unfurl the hidden gifts of people living with autism.
Thank you Central Massachusetts Center for Autism Awareness for awakening the spiritual drummer within all of us.
– Tim Kane