Pat Gesualdo: Helping to Keep Special-Needs Students Healthy

Pat GesualdoWhen teaching special-needs students, drum instructors and Drum Therapists must remember that besides the difficulties that disabilities present to learning, there are often health issues to contend with. Keeping the younger and adult special-needs population healthy can have its challenges. These students can get sick very easily due to a compromised immune system, so all teachers need to help them avoid getting sick as much as possible.

Here are some ways to help your special-needs students reduce the chance of getting sick.

1. Instructors should always wash their hands before working with each student.

2. Have students wash their hands before each lesson if possible.

3. Wipe students’ drumsticks with Clorox wipes before each use.

4. If possible, avoid allowing students to use your drumsticks. Let them use their own sticks instead.

5. Remind parents that they should cancel lessons if the student is sick.

6. At the end of the day, clean the studio’s light switches, bathrooms, and other pertinent areas with Clorox wipes, and vacuum the floor.

Drum Therapists regularly have contact with body fluids of special-needs students, because many of these students might vomit or have bowl or bladder issues. Therefore, make sure to have a box of vinyl gloves available if you have to clean the studio of any bodily fluids. Use vinyl gloves only, because many special needs-students (not to mention mainstream students) might have latex allergies, which can be extremely serious.

Some special-needs students might have issues with sores (open or closed) or specific devices that accompany them, so your studio needs to be clean to prevent infection.

All in all, keeping a clean studio will help you and all of your students from getting sick.

As always, please feel free to contact me at with questions or for further information on becoming a certified Drum Therapist.

Pat Gesualdo is an award-winning drummer, author, and clinician who has performed and recorded for various Columbia, Warner Brothers, Atlantic, RCA, and Paramount Pictures artists and special projects. He was nominated to Who’s Who In America and was an associate voting member for the Grammy Awards. He is the author of The Art Of Drum Therapy. For more on Gesualdo and the D.A.D. program, go to,,, or Advertisement