To celebrate World Autism Awareness Day on 2nd April, Percussion Play is highlighting the benefits of outdoor music for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and its ability to promote spontaneous, inclusive play.
It has long been scientifically proven that listening to and creating music lifts people’s moods and makes a powerful sense of well-being. But there’s also research demonstrating the positive impact outdoor musical instruments have on people with ASD. Musical instruments based outside have no rules, which means there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to create music, making it inclusive to everyone.
Music has a substantial impact on our brains, stimulating both hemispheres, and this is partly why it has been used so effectively supporting people with ASD. For an individual with autism, this is incredibly important as one common feature of ASD is that the left and right areas of the brain can in some areas, become detached or out of sync with each other.
Playing musical instruments stimulates the autistic brain to make new connections and strengthens existing ones, resulting in improved mental health and increased cognitive ability for people with autism engaging in musical play.
By combining both music and the ‘great outdoors,’ Percussion Play believe its instruments can help create fun and laughter, helping support both individuals with ASD and their families.
For those families who have access to them, outdoor musical instruments such as the ones created by Percussion Play provide a way for families to have fun together while strengthening the bonds of communication between parents, grandparents, siblings, and children.
This is why musical instruments such as Percussion Play’s ‘Duo’ are particularly beneficial for those with autism because the instrument allows for close social interaction but without forcing close physical proximity. The players can interact with each other in a safe space without the need for direct eye contact.
The Morgan Autism Center in San Jose, California, has benefited from Percussion Play’s instruments helping support its mission to help adults and children with autism or other developmental disabilities maximize their potential in a positive and loving environment. Brad Boardman-Executive Director, wanted to create a music garden following research into the benefits of music. Brad says, “Music benefits people of all ages and abilities. Besides stimulating both hemispheres of the brain, music opens up an alternate avenue for communication. People with autism can often struggle to interact with others. By playing music together, our students can make interpersonal connections in a way that works for them”.
Percussion Play has created a range of beautiful outdoor musical instruments played across the world in schools, libraries, parks, hospitals, and senior living communities. From the popular Calypso Chimes to the Harmony Flowers., Percussion Play’s instruments are designed to bring people together to create uplifting music.
Jody Ashfield, Co-Founder of Percussion Play, said: “We are proud to recognize and support this year’s World Autism Awareness Day and as world leaders in the manufacturing of outdoor musical instruments we aim to champion the impact outdoor music can have on individuals and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders. Research and science back up our belief that creating music outside can improve communication and social interactions for people with ASD, in turn helping promote inclusive play and support music with no boundaries”.
You can read more research on the benefits of music on The Benefits of Music for People with Autism Spectrum Disorders here.