Laura’s Story

Laura* is 12 years old and attends Clifton Hill School, a special needs secondary school in Surrey. She has the genetic disorder Triple X Syndrome and severe learning difficulties. Here music therapist Kerry tells Laura’s story. 

Laura was referred to music therapy after showing severe signs of anxiety at school, refusing to take part in almost all lessons and tasks, and to eat or drink during the day.

Quiet and closed off, Laura began her music therapy sessions in September 2016 – initially she was very reluctant to take part, play by herself or share any ideas, and became very upset. But as our work progressed, Laura started to become curious, wanted to learn and grew more relaxed. She began to try different instruments and explore sounds.

Soon, Laura became enthusiastic about coming to sessions, and after a few months would get up in class when it was her turn, saying “me now!” – a far cry from the girl who once wouldn’t even come into the room. Her demeanour completely changed – Laura became lively and playful in her music and her teachers said she had become confident, happy and relaxed in lessons. She started eating again in school, and taking part in class activities with vigour.

A very special moment came when in one session Laura told me she wanted to play the ukulele in front of her class – so we did, together. Her classmates gave her a huge cheer and Laura grinned, red-faced, before giving her teaching assistant a hug. This act of bravery would have been unthinkable just 12 months earlier.

Laura’s teacher said “When she performed to the class, I had a tear in my eye. I’d never seen her like that – it meant so much knowing where she was before and where she is now.”

Music therapy has given Laura the chance to shine, and I am proud to have been able to help her along the way.

Kerry, music therapist

*Name changed for confidentiality purposes. Laura is pictured with music therapist, Harriet.