Music brings Trowbridge mother and disabled daughter together

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A mother has said she is better able to communicate with her 14-year-old disabled daughter thanks to music.

A mother has said she is better able to communicate with her 14-year-old disabled daughter thanks to music.

Emily Wadds' daughter, Lydia, has a profound and multiple learning disability, is non-verbal, a full-time wheelchair user and has epilepsy.

But after accessing the charity Soundabout, Mrs Wadds said: "I don't think I've ever known her better."

Mrs Wadds, from Trowbridge, said that learning about Lydia's expressions and noises has helped bring them together.

The pair have been accessing Soundabout's online music sessions for around four years.

"Music has brought us much, much closer together," Mrs Wadds, 52, told BBC Radio Wiltshire.

"She's non verbal, so she doesn't talk, but just to hear her voice, I really can recognise her happy noises now - she does this little cluck."

Regular seizures meant that Lydia made little noise in her early years, but with music in Lydia's life, Mrs Wadds said she has seen a real difference in her daughter.

"We barely got any noise from her, she didn't laugh for years," she said.

"Now she makes lots of different noises that she never did before and I think it's given her confidence to make the noises, she's exploring more with her vocal cords."

Mrs Wadds said that discovering Soundabout also gave her the opportunity to enjoy time with Lydia.

"When she was little I was watching her all the time," she said.

"It was all about making sure she was safe, looking out for seizures, monitoring seizures, videoing seizures, talking about seizures - it was all health related.

"Finding Soundabout, I watch her, but it's for an enjoyable purpose - looking at her eyes and looking at her expressions, listening to her noises.

"I think it's one of the most important things in her life actually - music and food."

Rebecca Thomas has worked in special educational needs music for 15 years after studying music at Goldsmiths, University of London.

She now works as a Soundabout family support coordinator.

"Music is so universal, it connects people in so many different ways," Miss Thomas said.

"It doesn't matter what language you speak or how you communicate - whether you communicate with vocalisations, without vocalisations, body language - music enhances all of those interactions.

"It's a way for us all to meet in the middle.

"Lydia has all these incredible ways of communicating. I feel like music is just that tool to uphold all of the things she wants to tell us."