Effects of a Drums Alive® Kids Beats Intervention on Motor Skills and Behavior in Children With Intellectual Disabilities


  • Carrie Ekins
  • Jacqueline Wright
  • Henry Schulz
  • Peter R. Wright
  • Dean Owens
  • Wendy Miller


Polyrhythmic, multi-modular, multidiscipline, enriched environment, sportive drumming, diverse abilities, special needs


Motor skill deficits, mainly in coordination, such as hand to eye, is one of many of the characteristics or symptoms of an intellectual disability. Therefore, exercise therapy, with coordinative elements as well as special approaches to education, is a necessary action to achieve optimal health outcomes; and, to influence the development of the affected children in the best possible way (Brault, 2010). Hence, the aim of this study was to examine the physiological, symptom specific and cognitive effects of a multi-modular Drums Alive Kids Beats® Intervention in children with diverse abilities. Children with intellectual disabilities, aged 13.9 ± 2.7 years of age, were divided into two separate intervention groups and either attended the conventional school physical education lessons (PEG); or, participated in additional Drums Alive® Kids Beats Intervention classes (DG) twice a week. To give perspective, before and after the assessments for the 7-week intervention program were conducted, the performance was measured using the German Motor Skill Test (DMT). Furthermore, the children´s behavior and competencies were assessed by means of two questionnaires, the HKI and the VFE, as well as the Developmental Behavior Checklist (DBC), which monitors daily behavioral patterns. Results showed significant improvements of the DG in aerobic performance (p=0.11), coordination (p=0.038) & strength (0.015). Regarding the children´s monitored behavior (DBC), the DG also showed significant improvements (p=0.007) compared to the PEG. No significant changes were found in the competencies within each group and when measured against other groups. Findings of this study revealed that a sportive multi-modular drumming exercise program that combines endurance, strength training and highly coordinative movements, with emotional elements in an enriched environment, had significant effects on motor skill performance and behavior in children with intellectual disabilities. 

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