The Children’s Guild Foundation of Buffalo has awarded a grant to Camp Puzzle Peace, Inc. to create specially crafted musical instruments for The Music Circle, one of 8 planned stations along the Autism Nature Trail (The ANT) at Letchworth State Park.
The ANT was born out of a pressing need for therapeutic recreation for an underserved and growing population of special needs individuals. Camp Puzzle Peace is a regional non-profit which provides children and their families living with a range of disabilities with skill-building experiences to promote independence, healthy and active lifestyles, networking and greater opportunities for participation in community resources.
The goal of this first-of-its-kind Trail is to promote inclusion, making the inspiring, engaging and calming qualities of nature accessible, safe and enjoyable for all who visit Letchworth, voted the #1 state park in the country.
Natural materials will be used for percussion instruments such as tongue and slit drums, a marimba or amandinda, rainsticks, a glockenspiel and balaphone. Visitors will be encouraged to engage in making music individually and with others in a circular grove of pine trees that sits far enough away from the main Trail to avoid distraction for those who might be sensitive to the sounds.
“Our supporters are especially passionate about the Music Circle because of the documented connection between music and autism, sensory processing and other disorders,” says Co-Chair for The ANT Loren Penman. “Music can foster communication and social skills, appropriate behavior and attention, cognition and emotion. Sharing and taking turns, parallel play, following directions and patterning all are emphasized in the therapeutic use of music.”
The variety of distinctive instruments for the creation of natural sound highlights the development of predictable rhythmic patterns that provide a structured way in which to organize auditory information, according to The ANT’s Advisory Panel members. Some children with autism, in particular, excel musically, demonstrating advanced abilities in pitch categorization and memorization of melodies, and can serve as powerful role models for all visitors to the Music Circle.
The ANT continues to secure funding to construct and sustain the Trail. To learn more, go to: autismnaturetrail.com