Has working with the sound diaries changed how you work with the individuals at Cherry Road?

Kingsley: Working on the Sound Diary Project has brought my attention to how I work with Nicola and Donald on a more individual basis. I am aware that there are similarities between Donald and Nicola however through the process of working on this project I have become really aware of their differences as individuals. Donald is not so interactive when there are lots of people around and when it’s really busy. In the case of Nicola this is the opposite, it is during these kinds of moments that Nicola is at her highest and most engaged.

Through the process of filling out the sound diaries I have become aware of subtle sounds like the washing machine door opening, the juice machine and these small sounds and how they can have an effect on the individual I’m working with. I really feel that the moving of the Coke machine (note: the Cole machine stood on the central hall, it was moved late last year into the canteen area) has had a significant impact on Donald in the sense that it is in times of quiet that Donald focuses the best, the noise from this machine was a potential interruption of this space. 

I also feel that the practicality of filling in the sound diaries has made me look at and think about my practice and also how we do the written part of our job. I have become so much more aware of the flow of sound throughout the day. I have grown to understand the significance of sound and it’s association to time, for the individuals I work with sound I feels becomes a references for time and an indicator of the next activity. 

I feel that before we were caught up in a programme of activities and keeping people up, this has now changed for us to have a more person centered approach and not to focus on keeping people ‘happy happy’ all the time. 

Dawn: Yes, I agree, I feel that before there was a focus on activities and the practicality of ‘doing’ these focusing on facilitation and resources. I feel now that I have the ability to step back and take in the surroundings of these activities understanding the importance of light, feeling and interaction. I notice that sometimes an a seemingly relaxed situation can be surprisingly noisy. I have also become more aware of how much you can do in a session with very little resources through working with touch, tapping, voice and using ‘intensive interaction’ to venture into the into the SU’s world. I also use pressure games and clapping hands activities. I feel working in this way has helped Donald to communicate better with people. When Donald if finished with an activity he will place an object on the floor, gently push the person he is with away to communicate that he is finished with a particular activity. Donald will also touch the face of the person he is working with to show affection and/or invite that person into his space. 

Kingsley: I also now think a lot more about vibration and the physical impact of sound and also different type of touch. I work more with Donald setting myself a project of trying to get Donald to be the one that is creating the sound even through hand over hand actions, through this I want to try to give him control. I think this has also enabled us to pass constructive information onto new staff, realising that passing on both negative and positive information is really important.

Dawn Horley: I feel that I can read detailed expressions of the individuals that I work with much sooner, this enables me to see a situation arising in advance and be able to adjust what is happening in the session accordingly. It has also made me think more about the recording process, looking at evidence and outcomes are so important, the sound diaries fall into these and really help us to reflect on what is going on around us at the centre and the dynamics of the situation

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