We try to seek out organisations, charities or community activity groups who would be of interest for our service users – in helping them in a myriad of ways that impact their social and life skills growth. They are invited into our home (normally the Richardson Mews…because we have a beautiful big space which is perfect for activities) to give our service users a class or session.
We have started working with a charity called Soundabout (established in 1997) who, amongst other things, deliver training packages to organisations (like ourselves) who work with people with learning disabilities. In their own words “through making music we help people with learning disabilities develop their ability to communicate and interact with each other and the world around them – and have a lot of fun along the way”.
It’s not just about “making music” though – its more about using sound as a starting point for a wider opportunity for learning. We found that the sessions our service users participate in with Soundabout – have provided an invaluable addition to our sensory and communication curriculum. They definitely give our service users a wider access to music and raises their own standards of learning achievement. The techniques that Soundabout use help to stimulate communication, learning and self-expression – enabling our service users who may be unable to hold an instrument or speak – to make their own unique contribution. Soundabout make use of vibration boards, sound beams, musical instruments, sound, silence, voice, music and story telling.
The session(s) enable our services users to experience the impact of sound to stimulate creative expression; communicate meaningfully in their own way; experience a sense of wellbeing; enjoyment in shared relationships; express preferences and choices; expand their understanding of control over their environment; as well as explore body awareness and self-motivated movement.
So far our service users are clearly enjoying these Soundabout sessions and while having a good time, have also become alert, aware and engaged – building their confidence and self-esteem.