A qualitative study on the social-emotional benefits of Drumtastic Ability Beats® for children with autism spectrum disorder


  • Lyn G. Litchke, PhD
  • Mary Margaret Bracken, MSRLS-TR




autism spectrum disorder, drumming, creativity, social-emotional, self-regulation


This qualitative collective case study explored the social-emotional benefits of Drumtastic Ability Beats® in a dyadic partnership between children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and a college graduate student (GS). Fourteen male campers, ages 5-14, engaged in eight, 1-hour Drumtastic Ability Beats® sessions, twice a week, at a 4-week camp for children with ASD. Data collection focused on observational narrative field notes completed by the campers’ GS partner after each session. Thematic analysis revealed three primary themes: (1) familiarization through synchronization, (2) creative self-expression, and (3) self-regulation of emotions. These findings underscore the potential value of group drumming as a means to promote opportunities to enhance social-emotional regulation through facilitating relationships for children with ASD.

Author Biographies

Lyn G. Litchke, PhD

The Health and Human Performance Department, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas

Mary Margaret Bracken, MSRLS-TR

The Health and Human Performance Department, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas


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How to Cite

Litchke, PhD, L. G., & Bracken, MSRLS-TR, M. M. (2018). A qualitative study on the social-emotional benefits of Drumtastic Ability Beats® for children with autism spectrum disorder. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 17(3), 37–47. https://doi.org/10.5055/ajrt.2018.0166