Why Do We Hum?

by | Jun 4, 2019

Why Do We Hum?

Why do we hum?  Check out Andy’s world:

Andy has to hum.  He’s a student with learning disabilities that requires frequent sensory motor breaks to “reboot” his brain.

As the curriculum demands have increased, Andy’s ability to process the different and difficult incoming data has become more effortful.  With an increase in effort, he is less able to identify the noticeable structures necessary for the learning activity.  He becomes overwhelmed in the step by step process, none of which have been recognized as a regular pattern.

Other students in the classroom have developed an understanding of patterns in learning, such as the natural occurrence of using a textbook, opening to the correct page, and looking at the details of the text.  Certain textbooks are located in certain parts of the classroom and specific actions are required in order to access these textbooks.

For Andy, however, each time this occurs it is a new learning experience.  He becomes aware of the rush of other students, the colors, the sounds, and the textures, having difficulty attending to the procedures that have already been established in the routine of his classmates.  He has used considerable energy prior to the teacher even beginning to teach the lesson in the textbook.  With these distractions and intense focus on the procedures, Andy is corrected frequently and re-corrected, adding to his confusion and stress level.  As it is with all of us, an increase in stress leads to poor performance.

Humming is Andy’s strategy to stay focused.  So is leg tapping and pencil tapping.  For the student on the autism spectrum or any type of learning disability, humming can be a form of activity on the vocal cords that provides a calming vibration and tone.  That’s why most of us hum!




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