Tacpac™ was created in response to the total lack of tactile/music resources for the kind of children I was working with at that time: children with severe learning disabilities, autism, Down Syndrome, communication difficulties, and a host of other syndromes. The way it all started was that a colleague, the movement specialist, was running a movement session in the hall of the school we were working in. Her tape recorder broke down. She ran into my room (where I had my first free non-contact time in months!) and asked me to wheel the old piano into the hall, to improvise some music so that her lesson could still progress. The result was very exciting. The improvised music, with the feely sensations we gave to the children, was a hit. To cut a long story short, we repeated the session for many weeks. The other staff became enthusiastic, and asked us to make it into something more permanent, easy to use and transport, so they could do this too.
It took some time, but we eventually recorded the improvisations, and hence Tacpac™! A Tactile Approach to Communication pack for sensory awareness. Many of you will remember the first edition of Tacpac One, with its Audio Cassette! The whole process was great fun, and very rewarding to see how many children responded so positively to the pack. Today Tacpac reaches people of all ages and abilities, from birth to older people with dementia. If you are working with older people we would be keen to involve you with some research, please get in touch if you’re interested.
Hilary Wainer BMus, MEd, DipMTh, Dip Psychotherapy
Co-Founder and Director
Hilary co-founded Tacpac™ Ltd. and co-created the material. She has many years’ experience as a teacher and music therapist, working alongside children with a wide range of learning difficulties, in different settings. She has a special interest in those who have profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), complex needs and multi-sensory impairment (MSI). Hilary is also an accredited music therapy supervisor with the British Association of Music Therapists (BAMT), and has worked nationally and internationally as a facilitator in schools and mental health settings. She created the ground breaking “Beat That!” events, popularising the use of the resonance board. She is an experienced trainer with a passion for everyone to reach their full potential.
Susie Fuller, B.Ed SEN, PG Dip LACIC
Susie has spent her teaching career working with children with SEN. Prior to this, she worked with both adults and children in residential care. Susie has specialised in supporting children with language and communication needs, including those with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder). She received a post- graduate diploma in Language and Communication Impairment in Children (LACIC) from Sheffield University. She is especially passionate about using Tacpac to enhance interaction and attachment between children and their carers. Susie leads Tacpac trainings and alongside Hilary, continues to develop it to support the professionals who are using Tacpac with an increasing range of people. These include babies in hospice care, adults with profound disabilities and those with Alzheimer’s.
Sarah Jane Clarke, BA (Hons), CELTA
Before working with Tacpac, Sarah was a teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Her passion for Tacpac stems from her relationship with her severely autistic brother whom she has helped to care for in the past. Growing up with him has given Sarah a deep understanding of and love for people with autism as well as an ability to communicate with those who are nonverbal. Sarah is also developing a secondary career as a fiction writer and is a keen linguist. She would like to work more extensively in the area of special needs education and research in the future.