Cally had profound and multiple learning disabilities, being wheelchair dependent. Her vision was severely limited and she was non-verbal. As is often the case, Cally responded to the soundbeam equipment being aimed at her head by quickly recognising that her head turns correlated with various notes being played through the loudspeakers nearby. My early sessions with Cally involved me sitting very quietly while she very slowly and in a measured way turned her head while intently listening to individual notes playing in response.


In due course I decided to try her with the iPad laid flat on her wheelchair tray and I encouraged her to allow her right hand to come into contact with the screen to play notes on a musical app. In time her extremely limited hand movements became greater in extent until eventually she was able to move her hand across the whole length of the screen to play across the musical scale. Cally, on reaching this stage, found her newfound abitlies somewhat amusing and she would gently laugh on producing certain notes. Although highly prone to startling in a quiet environment with sudden sounds, Cally really liked playing synthesized instruments like the electric guitar with the iPad.


She was subsequently able to take part in noisy classroom sessions and recognise the sounds she was playing as distinct from other student's sounds. Cally is one of the few students I have seen that have been able to play equally well with head and hand movements. Taking into consideration her extensive disabilities, her achievements are highly impressive.