Adam is an adult with autism and learning disabilities with whom I have worked for a number of years. High levels of anxiety and unpredictable behaviour make it difficult for him to access activities and services outside his home environment. When he first starting coming for music therapy he found it difficult staying in the room. He would become very animated and involved in our music but would then be unable to regulate his feelings, becoming over-stimulated, leading to anxiety and fear.
Over the years he has gradually been able to relax more in our sessions, choosing favourite songs to sing or joining me in improvised singing based on his words and vocal sounds. In every day life his repeated words, phrases and loud vocalisations can cause frustration among those around him and can seem like a barrier to communication. In music therapy sessions they have become the basis of our communication through shared creative expression, where we listen, anticipate and enjoy each other’s sounds and responses.
*name has been changed to protect confidentiality