The halls came alive at the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders on Saturday, March 13 as nine 6-10 year-olds gathered to enjoy friendship and fun at a SibShop event led by Family Resource Specialist Susan Austin. Designed for siblings of children with developmental disabilities, SibShops allow participants an opportunity to celebrate the special relationship they share with their special needs brother or sister.
Seven girls and two boys enjoyed a morning full of activities that focused on teaching ways to express one's emotions. The morning began with Austin playing her guitar as the children sang familiar songs to break the ice. Participants then engaged in a variety of games including an" emotions game" where they used a hacky sack to pick an emotion and then explained how the emotion reflected their relationship with their sibling. The highlight of the morning centered on creating drums from coffee containers. Children decorated the containers with materials to make them more drum like and enjoyed an impromptu parade as they made their way from the back of the Center to the front lobby to greet the pizza delivery person.
While creating the drums proved to be great fun, participants will have an opportunity to further explore ways to the use the drum for emotional expression at their next meeting. During the April 24 SibShop Tammy Hickman, Supervisor of Outpatient Services for the Thompson Center, will lead participants in a therapeutic drum circle.
"Drumming is very relaxing and has several documented health benefits." says Hickman, who has been playing drums for most of her life.
" I started playing spoons when I was in grade school because I didn’t have access to drums. Then I played the tops of soda cans. When I was a teenager my Dad bought me a set of bongo drums and I was hooked."
Today, Hickman plays a variety of African hand drums including Djembe. She facilitates a once monthly drum circle at the Unity Center in Columbia and plays for church services there weekly.
"...playing with rhythm ...helps me connect to spirit and to myself." Hickman says
"Sharing that feeling with others only enhances the experience."