”Lauren has Downs Syndrome and is 15 years old. She has attended many Musical Keys sessions over the years. She started with music sessions when she was very small and enjoyed them a lot. In recent years, she started to attend the DXA sessions which were run at the Hall School in Norwich. Lauren was quite sensitive to loud or sudden noises so she would attend wearing ear plugs and she was initially quite nervous about going. This didn’t last long. She soon decided the sessions were great fun and no threat to her whatsoever and she ditched the ear plugs! She loved everyone there and was always keen to know who would be playing with her this time!

With changes to direct payments, Lauren was no longer able to go to the DXA sessions  which was a bit of a concern to us initially. However, some new sessions were set up called creative connections. We wondered if Lauren would enjoy these sessions as much but we were worrying needlessly. She thoroughly enjoys them. She loves the volunteers who help there. She enjoys being around the other children who attend. She likes the feeling of independence now she doesn’t have a one to one at the sessions. She makes music, makes films, plays ‘find the frog’ (a particular favourite alongside singing ‘fart in the bath’!!). We have been given a copy of the films afterwards and they are excellently done. The kids are having a fantastic time.

Musical keys is by far Lauren’s most favourite thing to do. She gets really excited before she goes and comes home full of news and giggles.

Lauren has tried attending ‘mainstream’ groups in the past and sadly she’s always found them really difficult. Groups like these are few and far between and sadly sometimes poorly attended. I can’t express enough how great Musical Keys has been for Lauren. She’s come a long way with them. Long may they continue to provide such an excellent service.”

”It’s such a wonderful project and my son seams so happy there…     …it was his first smile in months”

“The support I received from staff and parents was a life line, you often feel very alone and isolated, but they gave me a sense of worth, and I felt I belonged.”

“In a year I’ve learnt how to write a comic, how to write house music, how to animate, how to play the ukulele and how to be a weather presenter! AND I’ve met a load of new friends too”

“My son has grown in confidence, his motor skills and speech has improved.”

”My older son often attends and he also enjoys coming and meeting other children.”

“I greatly value the friendship and support I have found at Musical Keys; It is impossible to over emphasise the importance of being able to meet with and exchange ideas with people who understand and sometimes share the difficulties and social isolation encountered by parents of children with special needs.”

”Although —–‘s language is very limited, I know that she really enjoyed her DXA experience last Wednesday. I played her copy of the cd you gave (that the children made) on the way home – she laughed and was so happy to listen to the music that all the children had put together. I was very impressed with it myself.”

”(My son) is always very keen to know if the next school holidays involve a Musical Keys session. He always comes out full of himself, telling me everything he’s been doing. I was particularly surprised about him using the microphone to say “fireworks” in a song they were singing. He tends to be fairly reserved with other people and it is great he felt relaxed and encouraged enough to do this. The scheme has undoubtedly helped encourage —-‘s confidence in talking to unfamiliar people in a social environment. (He) really does enjoy the scheme, making new friends as well as seeing some from school. Long may the sessions continue as there seem to be fewer and fewer opportunities for young people with disabilities, such as his, to participate in”

“My older son realises that his brother isn’t the only child with special needs, and he also has lots of fun at the group.”

If you would like to tell us your thoughts or share your experience then please do get in touch here