This semester I participated in the “Music Buddies” service, which gave me an awesome experience and a great opportunity to help the children with Cerebral Palsy. From this service experience, I got to know more about Cerebral Palsy and learnt how to communicate and take care of these children, which made me more open-minded and caring.
“Music buddies” is a service aims to use music to react with children who had cerebral palsy. During the season 1 and 2 of the school year 2018-2019, I know more about how to treat them with music. Before I join the service, I didn’t really know what cerebral palsy was. I thought it was just a type of disability that causes symptoms such as low intelligence. However, the first time that we went to the centre to get touch with the children, I was quite shocked, I even felt fear. Our whole service group is divided into two groups so that we can be responsible for children in two age groups. Our group is in charge of children aged between 6 to 10. The first time we met them, they were all sit in a wheel chair. They lowered their head, and when we said hi to them, they didn’t response. I didn’t know how to react with them and I just stood there for 10 minutes. A boy was crying and shouting all the time for no reason. A girl’s neck muscles are not strong enough so her head is always turning to a weird direction. We found it hard to communicate with them, which makes it even harder to use music to interact with them. Therefore, after the fist week away, we decided to make some changes to our original plan. Everyone wrote a sticker to express their opinion and suggestion to the change of the plan. At the end of the decision making process, we decided to use the combination of visual and hearing together to boost the interaction between children and us.
Our group were focusing on a class with the age group of 6-7, which were the younger kids in the school, and this increased the difficulties for us to help them. However, during this process, we met a lot of challenges: The kids weren’t participating actively in our activities and didn’t give responses to us, so that we were sometimes very confused about whether they liked the activities and were involving or not. Also, their young ages limited the activities we can do with them. The activities shouldn’t be too exciting or physically interactive, because the children would be scared or feel uncomfortable when we touched them. Therefore, the activities we organised were mainly playing songs in different speed and with some interesting movements, attracting them visually. Nevertheless, sometimes we did get response: Once there was a girl who got really excited by the music we played. She was clapping and laughing cheerfully with the music, which made us realised that the children with Cerebral Palsy were aware of the things and changes around them, but it just took them quite a long time. We found that this service was very meaningful. As we were helping the children, we also discovered a sense of self value, and found the little things we could contribute to the society and the people who need our help. It was an awesome experience. We are looking forward for you to join us next year!