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Our Story

At Soundabout, we believe that everybody deserves to have a voice. Rather than focusing on what people can’t do, we want to emphasize what they can do. We believe that people with severe and profound learning disabilities including autism should have a life full of expression, passion and enjoyment. To enable this to happen we aim to educate, support and empower all those in our community. That’s why we use sound to enable people with learning disabilities to express themselves, connect with others, and feel the warmth of music.

We want to create and maintain an open and accessible community where someone profoundly disabled can feel relaxed, safe, and enjoy themselves. We want to empower everyone to use their voice and create their own rhythm. Our music sessions bring children and adults with various and complex learning disabilities together alongside their families and carers to take part in music-making, from our inclusive and virtual choir to our workshops. Music is just the start; we want to help develop a sense of belonging and confidence for people to take through life, as we all deserve to live in a community without barriers.

Soundabout was launched in 1995 in Oxford with the aim of empowering school staff working with children and young people with special needs to make music interactively with their pupils with severe and complex disabilities. The overwhelming and enthusiastic response to this project by both pupils and school staff suggested that a permanent staff training programme would be welcomed in schools across the UK and in December 1997, Soundabout was officially founded as an independent charity.

Since then, Soundabout has blossomed and is now a national charity that has pioneered the use of music, rhythm and sound to give children and adults with disability a voice, a way to express themselves and be listened to.

Our training programme in schools has continued to expand and develop around the specific needs of staff in SEN Schools and professionals who support people with severe learning disabilities. Training is delivered by our highly skilled Soundabout practitioners. Some of our practitioners also work as special needs teachers in schools and some are Music Therapists. However, all are highly skilled specialist practitioners with a national reputation for delivering unique in-classroom training.

In addition, we offer children, young people and adults along with their families and carers, regular community sessions which encourage absolutely everyone to take part in their own way, in a relaxed and friendly environment. Once again, all of these sessions are lead and developed by our highly skilled music practitioners.