Guitar, tambourines, xylophone and a sheet of lycra burst into action when David heads to music therapy on Thursday mornings.

And through the music that happens, David has been making great progress with non-musical goals like turn-taking, sustained joint attention and responding to options for choice with non-verbal gesture or sign.

David has been visiting Shari Storie, registered music therapist, each week since May.

His support staff Maricor Risma (Outcomes Broker) and Aine Vuki (House Leader) saw his interest in music, particularly the drums, and had previously taken David to a music group run by a community musician.

When Maricor heard about the music therapy service happening at Twin Vines Aspirations in Henderson, she enquired about referring David to individual music therapy sessions, tailored to meet his needs, building on his strengths and moving at his pace.

David has settled into the routine within the sessions, readily sits down on ‘his’ chair, responds to sung prompts to shake hands to say hello and takes turns to strum the guitar.

David has shown he particularly likes fairly fast, upbeat strumming, often swaying side to side in time with the music, and sometimes laughs or smiles in evident enjoyment and engagement.

He frequently retrieves the tambourines and, together with Shari, he has been working on the idea of following her sung instructions to shake in time together, and getting faster before coming to a stop!

David’s cooperation and understanding of expectations have also been increasing, for example putting an instrument back on the table rather than discarding it, to communicate that he has finished.

Sometimes, David gets distracted, but we hope that – over time – his motivation and interest in the music will help to develop his ability to consistently return to an activity after distraction.

Music therapy offers David a chance to get out into the community, develop relationships with other people in another place, as well as developing specific social and communication skills, and opportunities for sensory exploration.

Every time Maricor comes to the house, David is ready to get in the car and go to music therapy – his time, his space, his music.