The Most Afflicted Find Peace

In 2011, I met Mickey Hart who had been working for the last several decades with rhythm as a therapeutic modality to help those with neurologic damage, particularly the afflictions of the elderly.  He proposed doing similar work for those with autism.  Mickey and Remo designed a drum specifically for those with autism.  The result was large circular drum which would produce the sound of the human heartbeat, so that those who drum together would hear one another, feel the common bond of pulse, and find the unique “beat” of their own lives and the rhythm of autism.

Dear Mickey,
If you had only been there Tuesday, we hosted some of the most neurologically challenged young adults.
A local physician was astounded to observe the following after 20 minutes of the softest drum beat:
– diminishing of ticks
– elimination of hand flapping
– lessening of teeth grinding
– elimination of "scripted circular speech"
– relaxation of abdominal muscles
– relaxation of hamstrings and calves – resulting in lessening of foot twitches
– lessening of hyperactivity
– deep calm/somnolence/even sleep
All of this is a breakthrough in the field of auditory integration, which in layman’s terms, means the widening of the strength of the relaxing acoustic bands which enables autistic people, and those with related challenges, to navigate what often seems to be the terrifying "clatter" of the real world!
Pretty good for a drum!

Jim Billington and his wife, Julie, have been reluctant pioneers in helping young adults with autism lead a fulfilling and productive life.  Two of their four sons are on the “spectrum”, and they have been living and breathing the issues related to autism for the last twenty years.  One of the miracles they have encountered is the healing power of rhythm. In 2009, they founded Hidden Wings, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing out the gifts of young adults with autism. 

For more information or to support Hidden Wings, please go to their website at

Please login or sign-up and post your comment!