To those with ASD, listening to the sounds of nature is a tool for healing. Whether the calming ripples of water or the frightening bouts of thunder, listening to these natural sounds brings forth immense benefits to our mental health. According to an article by Colorado State University, the sounds of nature will help decrease pain, lower stress, improve mood and enhance cognitive performance. They say that listening to the sounds of water are effective in improving positive emotions and health outcomes, while bird sounds combat stress and annoyance.
Currently, sound therapy is a popular mode of treatment for anxiety in ASD. I am incorporating an element of natural sounds into my drumming exercises for the students.
Below are some possible activities to use to mimic or recreate the sounds of nature:
Sound of Wind: Have one towel or thick cloth per two students. Each student will grab the towel on either end, and will shake the towel vigorously to create a “whoosh” sound, similar to that of howling wind. This exercise will enhance nonverbal communication and help tension release.
Sound of Raindrops: Have students fill their water bottles with gravel. Then, have the students gently shake their bottles. The collective rattling sound will resemble the sound of raindrops. However, this must be done with a large group of students for the sound effect to work.
Sound of Thunder: Grab a thick box, and fill it with soybeans. To recreate the sound of thunder, give the box a sudden vertical upward thrust. The rumbling sound of the soybeans will be close to the sound we hear during thunderstorms.
Colorado State University. “Want to Improve Your Health? Head to a National Park, and Absorb the Sounds.” Phys.org, Science X Network, 22 Mar. 2021, https://phys.org/news/2021-03-health-national-absorb.html.