We’d like to introduce you to one of our patients - Richard*- who has Down’s Syndrome and experienced early developmental trauma. Richard has high anxiety levels, which affect his ability to manage and express his emotions and behaviour, and sometimes results in periods of being excluded from his Secondary SEN School in the south of Englandl.

In late 2020, Richard began working with Chiltern Music Therapist, Gabrielle. He was initially reluctant to even come into the music therapy room, but gradually began to develop a trusting relationship with her. This enabled him to come into the room and begin to engage, if only fleetingly at first.  

Through the therapy sessions, he has been able to safely explore his emotions and emotional responses, work on communication and social skills. And most importantly, it provided opportunities for him to feel positive about his achievements and begin to develop a stronger sense of self. 

Changes in Richard’s family circumstances and the subsequent impact on his behaviour within school meant that sustaining this level of interaction became challenging for him. So the focus for the therapy evolved and instead offered him the opportunity to have consistent and reliable emotional support. Gabrielle felt it was important that whilst many other areas of his life were uncertain, he still had the opportunity to maintain the relationship with the Music Therapist as well as key school staff. Richard really seems to value this and he will often express that he is looking forward to seeing the therapist when arriving at school on that day.

Through support from school and therapy sessions, Richard has been able to integrate back into the school community and is hoping soon to be able to stay in school for the whole day, every day.  

*The names in this story have been changed 

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