Drumming an hour a week may boost academics in autistic kids

London : Children with autism who indulge in drumming for just an hour a week are likely to have improved concentration, ability to follow instructions, as well as interaction with their peers, a study has showed.

The findings, led by Britain's University of Chichester and University Centre Hartpury, showed that the students' ability to follow their teachers' instructions improved significantly and enhanced their social interactions between peers and members of school staff.

Observations of the weekly lessons also highlighted significant improvements in dexterity, rhythm and timing.

"This is a unique and remarkable research project that has demonstrated the positive impact on a pupil's health and well-being following rock drumming practice," said lead researcher Marcus Smith, from Chichester.

"Rock drumming is a potent intervention for individuals experiencing brain disorders such as autism," he added.

The researchers found that drumming also enhanced movement control while performing daily tasks outside the school environment including an improved ability to concentrate during homework.

"Drumming has a unique blend of physical activity, coordination and musicality, all of which are known to be beneficial to well-being. It has been amazing to watch the children thrive and develop to this challenge," explained Steve Draper, Dean Research and Knowledge Exchange from Hartpury.

"Drumming has the potential to positively impact a wide range of people."

For the study, published in the International Journal of Developmental Difficulties, the team involved pupils who took part in a 10-week drumming programme comprising two 30-minute sessions each week.

Class teachers evaluated behavioural changes within the classroom across the 10-week drumming intervention, with preliminary evidence highlighting positive outcomes.