“Throughout the year Marianne has become increasingly responsive to the different activities of her sessions; she focuses on different objects, and makes clear choices. Her ability to understand that her actions cause reactions from others is slowly beginning to develop, and I feel that this has largely occurred through opportunities and encouragement given at Touch Trust.” – Amanda Brown (Former carer of Marianne)
Marianne first came to Touch Trust with her class from Ty Gwyn School. Due to the group session, limitations were put on Marianne’s mobility. It wasn’t until Marianne left school at 19 and started to come to us 4 times a week that her potential really started to develop. Being in a one to one session has allowed us to organically adapt and tailor make the session according to Marianne’s energy changes. These changes can be quite dramatic, ranging from dancing and exploring the space, to relaxation and sleeping. The emphasis being on ‘where Marianne is, is right’. She has responded very well to this approach, and as she has become used to the session format we have found that her energy levels have started to follow those of the Touch Trust session, and her understanding of what is coming next is obvious.
In the beginning we were careful to remove any potential distractions from the room, and only bring out things when they were needed. Then gradually as Marianne became more used to the programme we started to leave things in the room and Marianne ceased to be distracted by them, and became more focused on the session itself.
After attending Touch Trust four times a week for three months Marianne’s understanding of the session grew and grew; and with this so did her confidence. As this confidence started to develop she started to make choices. By limiting the choice and simplifying the situation it has encouraged her to make a decision. We started off by offering the choice of two instruments in the beginning and end of the session. When Marianne was able to choose between these we introduced a choice of three instruments for percussion – this gives her the opportunity to choose the instrument that she would like to explore, and to create the session around her. Lots of praise and encouragement reinforces Marianne’s confidence.
Gradually more choices have been introduced, including giving her the opportunity to choose to use the beach ball or the hoolahoop in her ‘focused exercise’ section as a tool to develop her movements. Marianne is also increasingly pushing things away, or removing herself from them, therefore showing us when she has had enough and is ready to move on.
By making these choices and decisions Marianne is now leading her session in a confident manner, and creating a session within which she is actively happy and secure
Marianne will sing and vocalise herself to show when she is happy, and likewise when she is unhappy she will make very unhappy sounds. Marianne’s father has said that he loves to hear these sounds, even if they are unhappy because it means that Marianne is now showing how she feels, something she was unable to do before she started coming to Touch Trust. The ability to express herself vocally is perhaps Marianne’s greatest developmental achievement.
“The first time that I attended Touch Trust with Marianne is still very clear in my mind; it was such a pleasure to see her engage with the space and the session leaders…It is as if a door has opened somewhere and Marianne, recognising this, has stepped through.” – Amanda Brown (Former carer of Marianne)