Signed music sessions to help young children in East Kent living with disabilities

February 17, 2017

A series of fun-packed music and signing sessions for babies and toddlers living with disabilities is to go ahead in Margate, following the awarding of a grant from the Care UK wellbeing foundation.

The £2,000 grant to the local charity 4Us2 will see sessions run out of three east Kent venues to increase the accessibility to parents. Parents and children will join in with nursery rhymes and songs created especially for the group using toys, puppets and sign language to stimulate communication, creativity and understanding.

The team has structured the upcoming sessions so parents can learn techniques to continue working on their child’s language and communications skills at home.

4Us2 was established five years ago by parents of disabled children in order to support children and parents alike. Manager Ivan O’Reilly said: “Experience and research has shown that families with disabled children experience greater isolation and that social networks are of great importance in finding support. These new sessions allow for lots of social time together so that families can get to know each other and build friendships and social networks. As a result, we hope that parents will experience much less social isolation.

“We have also found that involving the parents in leading songs and being involved in the content of new songs has a huge impact on the interaction with the session and their children. They will also develop music skills to use in play with their children. This will mean the children will experience less frustration and stress as they become better able to communicate and just as importantly, parents and children will have fun together.”

The wellbeing foundation was established as a way for Care UK to give back to the communities where it provides health and social care services. Over the next year, it has more than £25,000 available for grants to support charities which promote wellbeing through the arts.

Angi Knight, Care UK regional director for Kent, presented the cheque on behalf of the foundation. She said: “We are all delighted to support these excellent sessions that support both children and parents. We know from our work with adults with dementia and speech and language problems that music and song can be a powerful and fun way to communicate and we wish everyone involved every success.”

Applications for new grants are now open and fundraisers at other charities which work to promote wellbeing through the arts can be nominated here.