My son, Haydn, was 15 when he was knocked off his bicycle by a car during the school holidays in August 2018. His head took the full impact.
Haydn was transferred straight to the critical care unit at Addenbrookes Hospital. We were told the outcome ‘wasn’t looking good’ and if he did wake up, he would need round the clock care.
But, Haydn survived the first 48 hours and for the next 12 days he was in a coma.
Miraculously, he slowly started to improve and a few days after his coma he sat up and stood. He shocked us all when he started to sing words. He couldn’t speak or have a conversation but he could sing! I couldn’t believe it.
Music has always been a big part of Haydn’s life and he has very eclectic taste. One of his favourites is ‘wake me up when September ends’ by Green Day. It took on a whole new meaning after his accident when he woke up from his coma in September.
In October 2018, after nearly two months in hospital, Haydn was medically stable to be moved to The Children’s Trust for specialist rehabilitation to relearn the skills he had lost.
Haydn made good progress and was particularly motivated by music. His music therapist, Jonathan, suggested Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT), a technique used by qualified music therapists to stimulate and develop functional speech patterns. This technique recruits the brain areas that are used in singing to support learning and recall of sentences used in daily life.
Jonathan would sing a phrase that Haydn wanted to learn. Haydn would sing them back to him. They were everyday phrases such as, ‘can I have a drink please?’ His speech and language therapist also worked very closely with him to improve the pronunciation of the phrases.
Haydn also wanted to play the drum kit. He learned how to play ‘Come as you are’ on the drum kit and in his ceremony to mark his going home from rehabilitation he performed it to his friends, family and The Children’s Trust team.
Now, Haydn is coming on in leaps and bounds. In July 2019, 11 months after his accident, we were having dinner at the table and Haydn and his sister were having a conversation. I could hear everything he was saying. It may seem little to some but it’s huge for me and whilst he still has a fair way to go, I really believe his speech wouldn’t be where it is today without music therapy.