YSU's SMARTS Beats percussion-based learning program is a hit - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

YSU's SMARTS Beats percussion-based learning program is a hit

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Following directions, counting money and rocking out are just some of the things students at Youngstown's Potential Development have been able to learn through SMARTS Beats, a percussion-based learning program.

"Because our children are autistic they have a hard time learning in the traditional sense. So they don't do well with the teacher standing in front of them. So a program like the SMARTS Beats program incorporates something fun and learning at the same time," said Shellie Duchek, Potential Development's Development Officer.

And judging by the students' smiles, the program seems to be a hit among Potential Development students.

However, they're not the only ones benefiting from the program. In fact, SMARTS Beats travels to 11 different facilities serving more than 100 students.

"We've been doing it this year at several different sites out in the community for PK-12 students with physical and cognitive disabilities," said Leslie Cusano, Program Coordinator of SMARTS.

And while students with physical and cognitive disabilities are the main focus, they're not the only ones with something to gain. They're being taught by students themselves, who are studying music and special education at YSU.

"The year has been great so far. Every class is a little different and every week I go to that class it is a little different," said SMARTS Beats teacher and YSU Student Nick Sainato.

Students Motivation by the ARTS, or SMARTS has re-applied to the Hine Memorial Fund in hopes of securing funding for the 2013-2014 school year to continue the program.

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