Reading teen meets his music icon whilst fighting for life
This year Reading local George Turnbull, 16, faced a severe health crisis. He spent 10 weeks in hospital, 4 weeks in intensive care, battling critical complications.
Throughout this touch-and-go time, George listened repeatedly to Soundabout music sessions online.
Recordings of sessions by George’s favourite Soundabout practitioner, Ed, could be heard on repeat. Pictures of Ed’s sessions decorated the wall of George’s hospital room.
On George’s last day in hospital, Soundabout arranged for music practitioner Ed to visit George. Although the two had spent hours together making music online, this was the first time George and Ed met in person.
Despite being very weak and thin, George was overjoyed and engaged for the entirety of the two hours he spent with his music icon.
George’s mum, Davina, recounts how “it was a bit like watching Harry Styles with your child because he [Ed] is that famous in our house”.
George has been accessing Soundabout music sessions for years. His daily routine revolves around Soundabout.
When he is not interacting with Soundabout practitioners in live online sessions, George enjoys rewatching Soundabout’s archive of videos throughout his day.
Davina, George’s mum, explained how George gained independence through Soundabout’s online music sessions.
George will point at his iPad to indicate that he would like to watch a music session, despite being non-verbal, and he has learnt to touch the screen with his finger to control what he wants to watch.
George struggles with leaving the house so Davina will use Soundabout recordings “literally all the time” to calm George down.
Davina said: “Some people say “I can’t remember what I did before children”… I literally can’t remember what we did at home before we had music through the internet”.
Since his discharge from the hospital, George has made remarkable progress.
He has not only regained the weight he lost during his illness but has also thrived with the continued support of Soundabout sessions.
In addition to Soundabout’s online music provision, George now attends weekly in-person Soundabout sessions with other learning Disabled young people.
With the support of specialist music practitioners, George has been practicing strumming a guitar.
Davina highlights the significant strides that George, who is tactile averse, has made in holding and touching things.
George recently helped his carer to peel an orange – a milestone that Davina attributes to George’s continued engagement with Soundabout.
“Music is like a magic wand”, Davina expresses. “George will do anything for music”.