Well, here we are. Almost a whole year has passed since we went into lockdown, and while it’s been rather unbearable for every single one of us, some people have arguably suffered more than others. What I see in my work is that nobody has been more adversely affected than those people with dif-abilities who are considered extremely vulnerable, and have barely left their homes during this time – let alone seen or touched their loved ones.
I’ve continued to run sensory music sessions, but due to lockdown I’ve only been able to run these with the adults I work with regularly as a support worker. Unlike many people, who immediately sprang into action and took their businesses online, I’ve hesitated to make a concrete decision on what to do next. I’ve tried Zoom classes with varying results, but generally speaking, it just doesn’t work well. Face-to-face interaction is absolutely crucial in these interactive sessions. So is engagement by support workers, not to mention access to instruments, theme props, fancy dress and sensory items.
After speaking to several parents of young children who are going crazy trying to conjure up new ways of entertaining and educating the kids at home, it occured to me that Creative Rhythms workshops are absolutely perfect for little ones. The sensory music sessions in particular lend themselves well to family fun, with the opportunity for children to dance, learn, experiment with instruments, and burn off tons of energy before winding down in a soothing chillout space.
So, here’s the good news! Current covid guidelines allow for support groups of up to 15 people to go ahead as usual, and under 5s are not counted. So, with that in mind, these sessions will start back up again in late March in Halifax, and weekly thereafter.
Sadly, not everyone in society feels that creativity, community and face-to-face interaction for isolated children and vulnerable adults are deemed ‘essential’. As such, I will not be publishing the location details just yet, but would prefer anyone interested to contact me directly.
Choosing fear over love may have become the norm in these dark times, but there is a growing swell of voices who reject the status quo and understand the reality: that interaction with other human beings and access to the creative arts have never been more important for mental health, happiness and wellbeing than they are right now.
The sessions are recommended for kids aged 3-12, but are inclusive and everyone is welcome – especially chair users (and even better, chair dancers!) I’m looking forward to welcoming old and new friends of all ages to these weekly sessions, whether living with dif-abilities or not. Please note that this is an open invitation, but I am by no means encouraging people to take any risks. It is entirely down to the individual, assuming they have capacity, to decide whether or not the benefits of attending a support group outweigh the risks of mixing with other members of the community in the current climate.
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