Blind babies and young children to benefit from new music scheme

A new music scheme for blind babies and partially sighted infants and young children has been aunched.

A new music scheme for blind babies and partially sighted infants and young children has been launched

Michelle Green with her son Aaron, who has benefited from the scheme. 
Picture: Barney Newman

The Amber Trust, a charity that supports visually impaired children through music has just set up a service for blind and partially sighted children in their early years.

Called Little Amber, it has two components; the first is access to resources that can be viewed online or downloaded, and are available to all families and professionals in the UK and beyond.

Parent-child bonding

The second is the Little Amber music awards scheme, for families who have a visually impaired child in their early years (from birth to their fifth birthday). Those involved will be given a set of activity cards and will receive four home visits a year by a specially trained practitioner. Parents, carers and siblings will be shown musical activities to do at home or outside.  

One of the pioneers, Roehampton University music professor Adam Ockelford, says the project aims to help parents bond with their child and develop language, communication and social skills.

The scheme is open to 50 families at any one time

‘A lot of the project is enabling parents to connect with their sick child. Think of them as a baby not as a cluster of medical conditions.’

Children will have been in incubators and have special needs. Being blind means their hearing can be advanced and 40% will develop perfect pitch – the greatest attribute of musicality.

What nurses can do

He believes it is vital for nurses to be aware of what resources are on offer as they are in a prime position to inform parents about the scheme.

Michelle Green says the project has benefited her three-year-old son, Aaron, who was born at 23 weeks, is one of triplets and is non-verbal. ‘Music and sound is everything to him as he’s basically registered blind,’ she said.

'He has no vision at all, so his everyday life revolves around music and until the project got involved, you don’t realise how exactly important it is.’

Apply to the Little Amber music awards here

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