Balloch: David’s story

David is 15 and has cerebral palsy. He accesses respite care at Robin House in Balloch, West Dunbartonshire, which is operated by the charity Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS).

He loves music and has recently joined some of our #MusicEveryDay live stream sessions. We spoke to David’s mum Evelyn and CHAS Activities Facilitator Alison on a video call.

It’s just a fantastic way for David to engage with something that he loves… I see the benefit it has for David and I would hate to think there's anyone out there who can't access it. It would be such a shame.

Evelyn: “Pre-COVID David was always a busy boy. He would keep our diary very full and obviously he’s 15, so he goes to school, normally he would go to disabled Scouts, he plays Boccia, he goes to Sense at the weekend, so virtually every day there was something for David.

And then COVID comes along and we go into lockdown. David’s obviously shielding so he’s off school, all of his activities stop and our respite at the start completely stopped, so we went from quite a bit of support to absolutely nothing. Respite is good for us, but it’s also social interaction for David, so for that to just all disappear, it was absolutely horrendous.”

Alison: “David just loves music. A lot of our families do, but David comes alive with music… is probably the best way to describe it. I’ve seen through the whole lockdown, just what we’ve done with him virtually, how much he benefits from it. And other members of the team have been told that that’s helped David, it’s made him brighter for the rest of the day because he’s had that interaction.”

Evelyn: “As soon as music’s on, he will smile. And you know when David’s fully immersed in music, actually – when he starts to move his hands. He almost conducts the music and it’s just beautiful to watch and to see that reaction.

I think the Zoom sessions have been particularly good for him to just have a focal point for the day. It’s a long day when you’re looking after a child with severe and complex needs and with no school, no nothing, it’s good to have even just one session to say, ‘Today you’ve got your Zoom session, you’re gonna do some music,’ and he loves it. And afterwards he benefits absolutely from it.”

Alison: “We were able to interact and throw in comments like “Get that head up!” and “What are you doing?” and “Look at those legs!” – that helped make it more like you were in the front room with him and more of an in-person event.”

Evelyn: “I think one of the big benefits has been being able to give a playlist ahead of time. When someone plays music that he knows he likes, I think he then gets that the person has an interest in him, cares about him. It’s just a fantastic way for David to engage with something that he loves… I see the benefit it has for David and I would hate to think there’s anyone out there who can’t access it. It would be such a shame.”

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