Music news

Teenager has new lease of life thanks to music therapy

Lydia with her mum Emily

A charity has changed the life of a teenage girl and their mother through the power of music.

Lydia, 14, has a multiple learning disability, epilepsy and is a full-time wheelchair user, she is also non-verbal making communication difficult.

But thanks to the Soundabout charity, Lydia has formed a closer relationship with her mum after joining the organisation’s music sessions for the past four years.

Emily Wadds, from Trowbridge, told BBC Radio Wiltshire how the initiative has put a smile on her daughter’s face, ensuring the family she is content.

"Music has brought us much, much closer together," Mrs Wadds, 52, explained.

"She's non verbal, so she doesn't talk, but just to hear her voice, I really can recognise her happy noises now - she does this little cluck."

Those ‘clucks’ are priceless, when she was younger Lydia made very little noise, but since participating in the music sessions she has learnt how to express herself.

"We barely got any noise from her, she didn't laugh for years," she said.

"Now she makes lots of different noises that she never did before and I think it's given her confidence to make the noises, she's exploring more with her vocal cords."

Soundabout’s services are also giving Emily more precious time with her daughter, they chat about all types of subjects, where previously their communications were fundamentally about Lydia’s wellbeing.

"When she was little I was watching her all the time," Mrs Wadds said.

"It was all about making sure she was safe, looking out for seizures, monitoring seizures, videoing seizures, talking about seizures - it was all health related.

"Finding Soundabout, I watch her, but it's for an enjoyable purpose - looking at her eyes and looking at her expressions, listening to her noises.

"I think it's one of the most important things in her life actually - music and food."

Rebecca Thomas has 15 years experience in special educational needs music after studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, she is now a family support coordinator at Sundabout.

"Music is so universal, it connects people in so many different ways," Miss Thomas said.

"It doesn't matter what language you speak or how you communicate - whether you communicate with vocalisations, without vocalisations, body language - music enhances all of those interactions.

"It's a way for us all to meet in the middle.

"Lydia has all these incredible ways of communicating. I feel like music is just that tool to uphold all of the things she wants to tell us."

[ Music therapy can help individuals with mental health issues such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder improve their social skills and decrease feelings of isolation. ]

Related Articles

Help support us continuing our groundbreaking work. Make a donation to help with our running costs, and support us with continuing to bring you all the latest news, reviews and accessibility reports. Become a supporter or sponsor of Able2UK today!

Able2UK Logo