Girl in Soundabout t-shirt smiling and looking at woman in sparkly top sat to her right.

Music brings mother and Disabled daughter closer together

A Trowbridge mother, Emily Wadds, has found a unique way to communicate with her 14-year-old daughter, Lydia, through music.

Lydia has Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities, is non-verbal, a full-time wheelchair user, and has epilepsy, but that doesn’t define her. Lydia absolutely loves music and is a valued member of Soundabout.

Lydia has been accessing Soundabout music sessions for over four years now. Lydia’s mum Emily explained how it’s impacted on their relationship saying “It’s just made us closer. It makes me notice things about Lydia, her expressions, and the noises she makes.”

Smiling girl with side pony tail

Soundabout music sessions start with what an individual can do and evolve around the needs and interests of the group. Staff work hard to spot participant reactions and contributions no matter how subtle. It could be a slight tilt of the head, eye motion, or sound. All communicating something important!

Emily explained how through Soundabout she was able to learn and recognise Lydia’s more subtle communications and expressions. “I’ve got to know her more. She’s 14 now and I know her better now since doing Soundabout with her than I’ve ever known her,” said Emily.

The specialist Soundabout practitioners use simple activities and techniques so that parents and carers have the confidence to continue interacting musically with their loved one outside of sessions.

Soundabout has supported and encouraged Emily to sit down, make music with Lydia, and enjoy it outside of Soundabout sessions too. “I would never do this without Soundabout. Spending an hour making music with Lydia. It just wouldn’t happen.”

As well as bringing the pair together, they’ve formed close friendships through Soundabout music sessions. Emily said, “It’s just lovely to be part of a community, where people understand and get us.”