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.
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.
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