“Emily gets a lot out of the Touch Trust sessions, especially the 1:1. I have seen such a progression since I first started, with Emily using different instruments and exploring them in different ways. She is so happy when she arrives at Touch Trust and engages in every part of it.”
“Since taking part in the 1:1 sessions, Emily has developed the skills of making choices of 2 or 3 instruments. She likes the xylophone and has recently learnt to play with two sticks, one in each hand, and makes beautiful sounds. Each week she is doing more and more.”
Emily is a happy and giggly 22 year old lady who is diagnosed with Mowat Wilson Syndrome, a genetic condition which affects many parts of the body. Emily also has additional needs, is non-verbal and needs assistance with her personal care.
Emily loves to laugh and socialise, and likes to be out and about and enjoys meeting up with friends and family. She also loves swimming in her pool and can float about with her noodle. She enjoys kicking her legs in the pool and using her arm to splash everyone!
Emily likes to fiddle with her clothes or tap people- to help distract her from this, she carries a double zipped smiggle case as she loves to play with the zips.
Emily has been coming to Touch Trust at the centre since she was 8 years old, and currently attends sessions at the centre twice a week, once for a 121 session, and once for a group session. Emily attends Touch Trust with her personal assistant Julie, who has been bringing her for the past 4-5 years.
Previously, Emily has also taken part in Touch Trust sessions at Heronsbridge school, and during the pandemic Emily had regular online sessions, where she enjoyed still being able to see everyone. Emily also regularly takes part in different projects with Touch Trust, most recently enjoying the poetry project, where she worked on the weather and different seasons, using different props to engage with the sessions.
Emily can be a bit shy at the start if she is unsure of someone, however once she gets to know them and feels comfortable she engages and interacts much more. Emily has worked with many different facilitators, and has built her confidence with many of them over time. Julie, Emily’s personal assistant, thinks Emily’s favourite is Viv though!
Having attended for many years, Emily now shows a clear understanding of the structure of her Touch Trust sessions, for example rubbing her hands together when it is time to begin energy stroking. She will also indicate clearly when she is ready to move on to the next section by clapping her hands.
Emily engages with all aspects of the session, especially enjoying the stretching and movement, music, and dancing. She makes good eye contact with the session leader once she is comfortable and enjoys supporting her peers when in a group session. Emily is most engaged however during percussion when we use the musical instruments.
Emily is building her confidence with lots of new instruments, and over time has started making more choices about which instruments she would like to play, and how she would like to play them.
In particular, Emily has been enjoying developing her skills on the xylophone. Previously, Emily would only play with one beater, playing brief notes which large spaces in between playing. As she has got more confident, Emily has recently started to play using two beaters and both hands. She also plays much more consistently and for longer periods of time in one go.
Emily is translating this skill onto other instruments, and starting to use both hands to play the drums, and to hold shakers in each hand too. She now lifts her arm up to shake bells and the ocean drum, which she will do when prompted. She has also been moving the ocean drum to different hands. She also likes to bang the ocean drum to make a loud sound, which she finds very funny!
The most notable thing about Emily’s Touch Trust sessions are how much she enjoys them. Emily is always so smiley in sessions, and her infectious laugh means we all leave smiling too. It is noticeable how as Emily builds up trust with a session leader, she is able to relax and enjoy the session more, which allows her to try new things. Even during virtual sessions during the pandemic, Emily was always laughing and smiling- particularly enjoying doing a huge full body stretch, leaning back on her beanbag and kicking her legs in the air!
As Emily continues to attend Touch Trust on a regular basis, we will continue to encourage her to make her own choices and to express herself using different instruments and sounds. With further encouragement, we hope that Emily will continue to develop her motor skills using both her hands to play different instruments. Julie, Emily’s personal assistant, says that the part Emily struggles with the most is relaxation, as she is reluctant to just chill and lay back, however this is improving gradually, and we hope that Emily will find this easier as time goes on. This is something she will then be able to use outside of the sessions, when at home.