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Wolfprint Music Group, Warrington Wolves Foundation

I don’t’ read the book ‘Giraffes cant dance’ by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees anymore.. I recite it from memory.

I’ve read it so many times, it’s become part of me.

My children know every word too and they’re more than happy to correct any incorrect phrase, syllable or ill-placed dramatic pause during my nightly performance. 

‘Gerald was a tall Giraffe, who’s neck was long and slim, but his knees were awfully bandy and his legs were rather thin..

I often ask ‘should we read a different book tonight? ‘

The answer is always the same..’no!.. do Gerald please’.

Like many of their friends, my children take great comfort in doing the same thing over and over again.

I remember that the successful BBC show Mr. Benn ran the same 13 episodes for 21 years. They didn’t need to make a new series or develop CGI. Same stories, same characters over and over again and generations of children loved the comfort it gave.

The Wolfprint Music Group is a Youth Music funded project delivered by Warrington Wolves Foundation in partnership with Score Creative Education The work involved the delivery of 70 x 1.5 hr high quality, participative music-making sessions to 44 SEND children and young people in Warrington which combined the use of traditional instruments such as open-tuned guitar, keyboard, drumkit, ukulele, singing etc and accessible music technology applications using Ipad’s, Logic and Traktor DJ equipment.

We employed 3 music leaders and helped them to develop the skills required to work effectively with SEND children and young people in Warrington including provision of bespoke training in accessible music technology delivered by Drake Music. This included use of Makey Makey and a variety of Music Apps on Ipad.

This was the first project that Plugged In had delivered solely to SEND children and young people and the learning for all involved was considerable, especially around managing behavior and interaction.

Sometimes young people with autism do not understand that others might have a different opinion to them, or that others may want to do something different to what they want to do. From their perspective, the statements and actions of others may at times seem to occur without meaning or identifiable purpose, occurring randomly and without warning or logic. It’s a frightening place for them and often they respond in ways which seem out of step with the mood of the session.

Staff developed social stories with individual participants similar to the one featured above if they were feeling particularly anxious about an activity or event. Staff worked closely with the children to create a social story suitable for their ability and level of understanding.

Social stories help to give individuals some perspective on the thoughts, emotions and behaviours of others. The story describes what people do, why they do it and what the common responses are.These help the child become familiar to a situation, and to respond appropriately.They help the child to help prepare for a new experience and help prevent extreme reactions that stem from a lack of social understanding.

To further reduce anxiety, the Warrington Wolves Foundation staff and Music Leaders developed a repetitive and familiar delivery model, which managed to give the children a good balance of structure and free choice.

This was supported by a visual timetable which was used throughout the sessions to give visual anchor points and remove the anxiety attached to not knowing what is coming up next.

The work has been successful and the combination of repetition and well-defined and identified structure along with the opportunity to explore new activities and self-expression have made the Wolfprint Music group popular with the young people and their parents.

“We are astonished and proud by what she has managed to do all down to the Wolfprint sessions. We would never have believed she could do what she has done and watching her at a performance has brought tears of joy and pride to us, her parents.”