For children with life-limited illnesses, communication can be difficult. Complex conditions, coupled with regular hospital stays mean many children take longer to develop the skills they need to communicate their emotions and needs.  

It is hard for us to imagine not being able to say “I am sad” or “I am in pain”, but often this is the reality for the children we work with; this is why music therapy at Richard House is so vital.  

Our Music Therapists, Amelia and Lucy, are specially trained to give music therapy to any child, regardless of their condition. As well as providing an outlet for communication, music therapy helps children to relax, reduce anxiety and most astounding of all, manage pain.  

One mum said about her child experience of music therapy “Darby’s responsiveness to Amelia was incredible – even when she was tired. She turned towards the instruments held/tapped drums and shakers, felt strings – and most impactful of all, seemed to understand she could ‘control’ (i.e. on/off) the clarinet – which for a child with so little agency in her life was genuinely moving.” 

Because music therapy is so vital to our children’s development, Amelia and Lucy knew that even when they couldn’t deliver face to face sessions during the pandemic, they had to continue supporting young people however possible. Music Therapy went online and provided a lifeline for families unable to access their usual services.  

An unexpected outcome of delivering music therapy online, right into families homes was that suddenly parents and siblings were able to join in too, enhancing family bonds and giving them something to do together while shielding. During these challenging times Amelia and Lucy were able to bring structure and routine through their weekly sessions.  

One parent said Amelia and Lucy are like “brilliant extended family members, offering families and children joy, happiness, and the ability to be included in the normal activities of family life.” 

Without Music Therapy a child often struggles to express their emotions; by playing music and vocalising children are offered a safe and encouraging way to express any frustrations, anger or other emotions they’re feeling.  

Amelia told us "it is a lifeline especially for children at the end of their lives” 

Music Therapy at Richard House does not receive any statutory funding and relies on voluntary income to exist. Please donate to our Urgent Winter Appeal to ensure our children can continue to use music to learn, play and express themselves.  

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