Bridget Shepheard has been bringing her autistic son, Felix (14) to Create’s interactive music events specifically designed for disabled children & their families, creative:space, since 2005. Each event gives families the opportunity to hear live music, dance and create masks/crowns in a relaxed and friendly environment. Concerts are informal with seating around tables. Here, she talks about the event and what it has come to mean to her.
“I first heard about creative:space through a friend, who passed on the booking form to me and suggested I go and have a look. The musical base attracted me to the event – Felix loves music – and the fact that families in similar situations would be there made the first step a lot easier. Going out was still a big hurdle for Felix, who was nine at the time, so I thought creative:space would be perfect as a small introduction.
For Felix, the event gets better every time because each time he understands more of what will happen.
At the beginning he was really shy about joining in, for example, and now he will often go and have a little dance by himself at the front!
He also really likes making masks and crowns and loves stickers, so the craft activities have been great for him. The crowns have even been worn at birthday parties, he just loves dressing up!
What I enjoy most about creative:space is that the music changes every time we go, so Felix gets exposed to something new. When the swing band was playing, he even got to have a go on their instruments – he absolutely loved the drum kit! The workshop leaders are great as well, really inspiring in the way that they interact with the participants – they’re not too upset if they don’t get a big response.
Personally, it’s also nice to be able to go to a concert where you don’t have to worry about other parents judging you because we’re all in the same boat. You can relax from your daily routine and just enjoy the music.
creative:space really has given Felix and me the confidence boost to try other things: we recently went to a concert for young children at the Barbican. It was an hour long, and Felix sat through all of it and was very much engaged.
creative:space has helped us develop skills in going out – there really is no other event quite like it.”
*To protect anonymity, the photo in this blog is not of the participant.