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Stephen’s music session

Stephen is 17 and has been attending music sessions with tutor David McCluskey at TouchBase since September 2009. He has Cerebral palsy, and is visually impaired. During these 1:1 sessions, David had the opportunity to really focus in on Stephen’s abilities, interests and methods of communication. Stephen’s mum had provided invaluable information on his preferences and abilities, which gave a good starting point from which to engage with him.

Gradually through regular activity, within this 1:1 setting, Stephen and David began to develop expressive, communicative exchanges. As the relationship’s developed sessions have shown a whole cycle of responses, from passivity to focused expressive interaction.

“During sessions 3 and 5, Stephen was very receptive to my actions using touch-contact, as I tapped out rhythms on his hands and shoulders, and he gradually accepted, and seemed to really enjoy; my feet tapping on the footplates of his chair, and the guitar played while resting on his knees, and the’ ocean drum’ rolling gently on his head. Sometimes this gentle stimulation can ease Stephen into shared activity. He has shown greater interest and motivation to intentionally reach out to touch and explore objects and instruments around him, at distance so gradually exploring the wider sensory environment beyond his own body space”

David, Music Tutor

“Stephen looks forward to every Monday afternoon, and who wouldn’t because for the whole time Stephen is in music he becomes himself, he’s smiling, laughing, singing, dancing and taking part. He gets to express himself through lots of different instruments. As parents, its wonderful to see your son so free and happy. It’s a great way to acquire new skills through having lots of fun. Keep up all the hard work”

Stephen’s Mum

” The music session was a real eye opener for me. I was enabled to understand how Stephen could engage in both shared and independent activities. Observing Stephen responding to the sounds he was making with his own upper body movements and the Soundbeam was quite inspiring. Stephen appeared comfortable in the tutor’s presence and was comfortable with touch. In my eyes this was evident in how animated he became. When Stephen could hear his own voice through the amplifier he appeared to recognise the sounds.  An extremely interesting and enjoyable session”

Stephen’s Social Worker