Grafton Awarded Grant for Drum Circle Facilitation

October 6, 2015

Winchester, Virginia, October 6, 2015 —Recently, Grafton received $2,000 from the Marion Park Lewis Foundation to fund the Drum Circle Project for clients served in the Winchester facilities. The funds were utilized to purchase various percussion instruments for clients including: Marimba, Djembe drums, Buffalo drums, Talking drums, Shekere, Egg shakers, and Tubano drums.

Recently, drumming has gained in popularity as an effective intervention for supporting individuals with autism. Some researchers contend that drumming helps individuals access their right brain which controls emotions, intuition, artistry and relaxation. Drumming also provides a functional activity that supports language skills such as categorization, sequencing, taking turns, listening, following directions and in turn, problem solving. Moore (2011) states that, “participating in drumming experiences can help a child work on skills such as turn-taking and sharing, as well as help them feel they are part of a group contributing towards a group process”.

The benefits of group drumming are even more compelling including:

  • Improved self regulation
  • Increased group cohesion
  • Enhanced self expression
  • Reduced tension, anxiety and stress

The structure and repetition that drumming offers appeals to individuals with autism and provides a creative outlet for expression of emotions and it is fun, shares Fredrica Dooley-Brown, Music Therapist for Grafton’s Winchester facility. Special Education Teacher, Jona Masiya states, “We are thrilled and grateful to the Marion Park Lewis Foundation for awarding Grafton this grant. As a result of the grant, we have been able to purchase some really cool musical instruments and provide staff with some additional tools and resources to work with our kids.”

Frederica and Jona will be facilitating drum circles in classrooms as well as group homes. The goal of the project is to teach and coach other staff in the group homes so that drum facilitation is utilized more readily as a creative and fun intervention with children with autism. The drum circle project will first be introduced to staff and clients in two group homes supporting children with autism. It is expected that drum facilitation training will be extended to other group homes over the next year.

The Marion Park Lewis Foundation for the arts was established in 1992 to award scholarships for Northern Shenandoah Valley students of music, theater, dance, painting, sculpture and creative writing and to provide grants to local organizations. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than two million dollars in grants. For more information about the Foundation, please visit,

About Grafton Integrated Health Network

Grafton Integrated Health Network (Grafton) is a private, nonprofit organization that has served children, adolescents and adults with disabilities and significant emotional and/or behavioral challenges for more than 57 years. As an industry leader in behavioral healthcare, we utilize a data-driven, trauma informed treatment model to empower vulnerable and high-risk populations to lead better, more independent lives.

Grafton provides a continuum of services to children, youth and adults including applied behavioral analysis, early intervention, psychiatric residential treatment, a short-term stabilization program, special education programs, community-based group homes and outpatient services.

For more information on Grafton Integrated Health Network’s services and expertise, please visit:

Shweta Adyanthaya
Director, Communications
Tel: 540-542-0200 ext. 7260