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Client: JC
Location: Shoreham-by-Sea, East Sussex
Service: Neurologic Music Therapy
Therapist: Jennifer


At the age of 19, J suffered a severe Traumatic Brain Injury in 2011, resulting in a diffuse axonal injury. J has severe cognitive and physical impairments and requires 24 hour care.

Since his accident J was non-verbal, and severe spasticity prevented vocal production. However carers noticed that J spoke in his sleep or immediately upon waking.


He was referred by his case manager for Neurologic Music Therapy assessment in 2018, and ongoing NMT sessions were sought to help J to develop vocal production.

Primarily, Oral Motor and Respiratory Exercises were explored with J to increase his respiratory capacity and to strengthen oral motor muscles. This involved playing wind instruments and cuing breathing to a metronome beat. Patterned Sensory Enhancement, an NMT technique that uses aspects of live music to reflect and influence targeted movements, was also used to accompany oral motor exercises.



J’s respiratory capacity began to increase, and after several months, he began to make vocalisations. In NMT sessions these vocalisations were turned into musical and vocal improvisations, which encouraged J to explore intonation. Over time, J was able to match pitch and follow melodic contour within a vocal improvisation. Combining vocal improvisation and oral motor exercises allowed J to explore different vowel sounds. After 12 months, J said his first word in 8 years. J now holds regular conversations with family and friends.

J enjoys singing in NMT sessions. Different songs are chosen each week to target specific phonemes and support J’s speech. Regular joint sessions with J’s Speech and Language therapist ensures that session content remains goal-oriented.