Jessica’s story as told by her Mum
Jessica is 22 years of age. She’s a beautiful, fun loving young lady full of character. Jessica was born prematurely at 25 weeks. As a result of her prematurity Jessica has multiple disabilities and is registered blind. Jessica is a wheelchair user and is dependent on adults to support all of her needs.
Tacpac at school from an early age
From a very early age Jessica was introduced to Tacpac in her specialist educational provision, Sunshine House School in Southport. Tacpac sessions continued throughout her education until she left school at 19.
Through school communication and home school link books I knew Jessica had used Tacpac and enjoyed it. When Jessica left school I found it extremely difficult to find appropriate services and activities for Jessica and found myself thinking that the only thing that had changed from leaving school was Jessica’s age. The activities and stimulation that had worked so well in those educational years were still needed to keep Jessica physically and mentally active and to encourage further development and understanding through continuity. This is when I set about creating a checklist of appropriate activities for Jessica.
This is when I ordered Tacpac for use at home
Although Jessica has used Tacpac for many years; I had only seen snippets of it’s use when visiting schools for annual reviews etc. I had not actually used Tacpac myself so when it arrived I took the time to read the supporting booklet for advice on how to deliver and the aims. I gave my carers the opportunity to read the booklet too.
As we were new to the delivery of Tacpac, we tried it on each other to see how it would feel before starting with Jessica. As we were aware of Jessica’s familiarity of Tacpac we didn’t want to rush in half-heartedly and it then being a totally different experience to what she had been used to. So we practised for a short time on each other until were familiar with the music and rhythm and comfortable that we were doing it right.
Instant recognition of the Tacpac music
It was just so lovely when we first tried Tacpac with Jessica at home; with approving squeals there was instant recognition of the music!
Tacpac Set Four 4, number 5 (bubbles) has become one of the most successful activities we do. Jessica shows
her love of it through her animation and vocalisations at the bits she likes best. We now have the whole of the Tacpac collection in regular use. We have built up to this over time by practising on each other before introducing each
Tacpac to Jessica. Jessica will have 2 or 3 Tacpac sessions a week (different ones) as part of her activity check-list.
Jessica has Samba music as a reference that we are going to do a Tacpac.
Tacpac is an incredibly accessible resource
Even at times of recovery from surgery Tacpac has been appropriate and meaningful for Jessica. Tacpac is just an incredibly accessible resource. At times when Jessica has been really agitated and hasn’t enjoyed very much, Tacpac has been able to reach her and calm her. I have found that Tacpac allows for the adaptation to the here and now. When Jessica is bubbly she is animated and vocalises beautifully with Tacpac; when she is low or down Tacpac can be adapted to be gentle, offering positive contact.
Jessica doesn’t currently attend any college or day service and this makes Tacpac even more important at home.
Jessica did attend a college for a short time and they didn’t have any knowledge of Tacpac so we took ours in to show them. I am surprised by how little people know about Tacpac outside of a specialist setting even though it’s
such a valuable and accessible resource.
Tacpac enables a beautiful interaction between Jessica and her siblings. Jessica can be quite unsure of people in her space and those getting close need to be able predict her actions (rocking etc) and this makes close contact more
difficult for younger siblings. Tacpac has enabled Jessica’s younger sister, Daisy to be close to her sister and offers an opportunity to enjoy an activity together. Daisy is really proud that she can do Tacpac with Jessica and even
did a ‘Show and Tell’ in her school about it.
Jessica loves Tacpac; we love doing Tacpac with Jessica. We love that different music and rhythms can excite her, soothe her or lift her depending on her mood. We love that we have choice and variety. The collection of music, instruments and composition used in Tacpac is unique and offers a new experience to the adult receiver which may
not be easily available or accessible to them outside of an educational setting.
Spreading the word
I love spreading the word about Tacpac and really want to support it with this case study so that more people become aware of the benefits of this resource for young people and adults too. It’s timeless and can be offered in so many settings. With so few activities appropriate for reasons of access, age, suitability, funding etc Tacpac is a golden resource that can lend itself to any environment and any user; professional, parent, carer or even siblings.
Tacpac stretches the imagination of tactile experience alongside rhythm. We now find ourselves applying the Tacpac experience to everyday situations, the way we dance with Jessica in her wheelchair, the way we sing our action songs. I can’t wait for more Tacpacs to be developed.
Jessica’s 7 year old brother came to me the other day with another of his own Tacpacs for Jessica. He had a cereal box and six items including two little sponges off the hangers on new clothes for softly softly, a toy car to roll up and down, a comb to stroke and a towel for relaxation. Tacpac is firmly embedded in our family now.
Tacpac is a sensory communication resource designed to help communication, social skills, sensory and emotional development for those who have sensory impairment.