AVON PARK — Ridge Area Arc received funding through Tristan’s Legacy and The Arc of Florida for the T.R.A.P. (The Rhythmic Arts Project) Drumming Program. Developed by Beach Boys drummer Eddie Tuduri following a spinal injury, The Rhythmic Arts Project is an educational program that utilizes drums and hand percussion instruments.

This unique curriculum educates individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by embracing rhythm as a method to address basic life and learning skills as well as reading, writing and arithmetic. Ten standing drums, as well as several hand percussion instruments, were purchased for Ridge Area Arc to implement the T.R.A.P. drumming program.

“My staff are some of the most creative and caring individuals I have the pleasure to know and T.R.A.P. drumming is right up their alley,” said Kathleen Border, CEO. “They will be using T.R.A.P. to teach everything for arithmetic to hurricane preparation in a way that is way too much fun to feel like learning.”

Ridge Area Arc Tampa Bay Executive Director Sheldon Hershman visited the Adult Day Training Center to introduce the curriculum and meet the consumers and Arc staff.

“Our organization has utilized the drumming program in conjunction with volunteers. We have implemented the drumming program across all of our programs, as it has been successful with all levels of skill,” Hershman said.

Polly Stannard, one of The Arc of Tampa Bay’s board members, has been the driving force behind bringing T.R.A.P. to The Arc Tampa Bay. Stannard is one of the volunteer drumming facilitators and provides on-site visits to grant recipients.

Stannard emphasized the universality of rhythm and its ability to unite and foster participation for all. At our core as humans, we recall our own mother’s heartbeat and connect with rhythm throughout our lives. Stannard highlighted the creative expression opportunity as well as teaching basic skills such as coordination, concentration and educational elements. These elements can include counting, colors, sequencing and virtually anything else adapted to rhythm and repetition.

Each session begins and ends with positive reinforcement and combines four senses: Visual – students see the lesson; Tactile – students feel the instrument; Auditory – students hear the lesson spoken out loud; Speech – students speak the lesson. Lessons can be taught one on one, but work best in a group environment when others can support and learn from one another. All skill levels are encouraged to participate and all progress is celebrated. There is even a special “drummer’s handshake” shared by participants.

Ridge Area Arc will be retrofitting an existing classroom to house the T.R.A.P. program and is currently seeking sponsors to offset the cost of soundproofing the room. The Arc is also looking for volunteers for this new program. To sponsor or volunteer, call 863-452-1295.

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