Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice recently welcomed Music Therapist Kirsty Ormston and Drama and Movement Therapist Amy Keenan to the team. In these newly-created roles they will be working with individual children, young people and their families to enrich their experience of life and help them communicate in a variety of ways.
According to Kirsty: “Music Therapy is about using music to process experiences and emotions. Everybody reacts to music in some way, whether that’s how it makes you feel or move. It’s a form of communication for everyone.”
“As a Music Therapist you’re trained to observe physical and emotional cues and interpret them into music; giving the person you’re working with a greater sense of themselves and the way they relate to others.”
How might that work in practice? “We might do a ‘hello’song to start with and then, depending on the situation, we might do a bit of free play; taking up instruments. It might be that all the child can do is move their head. If so I can create music to reflect that.”
Amy Keenan’s role is about using the techniques of drama, such as roleplay and storytelling, to help people express themselves. It’s also about exploring emotions; by making connections with characters in different situations.
“Drama and play is the way children and young people communicate – it’s their natural way of expressing themselves,” explains Amy. “For some children and young people with life-limiting and life threatening conditions it’s a really good way of aiding them in their development.”
“Obviously there’s a lot of sensory play involved which is a key way of communicating for some children/young people. In my training I specialised in movement through touch and sound which is designed for both children and adults with learning disabilities and complex needs and is a way of communicating non-verbally.”