During January and February 2013, More Creative ~ Redriff brought together 42 autistic and non-autistic children at Redriff Primary School for a sensory music project. Janie Ewing, the school’s Autism Resource Base Manager, has been working at Redriff for 13 years. She is responsible for organising the autistic children’s provision both within the Base and class, running the Base staff team and working with teachers throughout the school. Here she talks about the project’s impact.
“This music project was excellent and just right for us. I knew the children would enjoy music but had no idea how it would develop. It was great seeing them try things out and develop their own rhythms independently. It was lovely to have children asking when they’d next get to do the music sessions and then really enjoying them: a couple specifically asked about and looked forward to the workshops when they usually have a ‘not too fussed about school things’ outlook.
“The project has really helped to bring the children together – lots of those who would normally not work together have done so. R__ and S__ played the xylophone together, sharing the notes, which worked really well. Outside the project, one of the children specifically asked to work with another child who they had been working with in the music sessions! I was also aware of a couple of non-autistic children making an effort to build a friendship with a child with autism.
“It was great having the professional musicians lead the workshops. The children really benefited from the skill of the musicians and how they enabled the children to have the freedom to explore the instruments and create music. They also enjoyed hearing the musicians playing their instruments and playing along with them.
“Projects like this are important because they work in a different way and are accessible by all as there is no given level of skill needed to access them, so everybody is successful. It gives children the opportunity to be creative and try out different ways of expressing themselves. Create is a great organisation and it’s brilliant that it can offer these projects to such a range of communities.”
This story is from 2013.