Having autism and ADHD makes it very difficult for 18-year-old music lover Luke Berry to make friends and have that feeling of belonging. But thanks to a grant for music from Therapy Focus’ GIVE Program, Luke is finding interaction with others that little bit easier with every week.
Luke has been attending vocal lessons and band ensemble at Music Rocks Australia in Morley for several years, with the benefit of working on both his music skills and social skills at the same time. He especially enjoys the live performances that he’s had the opportunity to take part in with his band.
Luke’s mother, Lynda, was eager for him to continue with his lessons, having seen the improvement in his confidence and self-esteem since getting involved. However, it was getting tough to financially sustain Luke’s lessons long term and so she applied to the Therapy Focus GIVE Program for a grant, which was approved.
“Social isolation is a reality for Luke and we are working hard to change this. Playing in a band and singing is an enjoyable and rewarding way to participate with peers in a safe environment. It’s great for him to be involved with others in the community in such a fun way.” Lynda said.
“Luke wants to have greater access to the community, whilst working hard to develop his social skills and increase his interaction with others. Music lessons have proven to be a fantastic way of achieving these goals.”
Luke enjoys learning new songs on his guitar and is currently working on an original composition with his band to play at an upcoming concert.
Therapy Focus Speech Pathologist, Eliza Chickonoski, is delighted that Luke will be able to keep taking part in music lessons.
“I believe that that Music Rocks has positively impacted Luke by providing him with confidence in himself and his ability to play music. Furthermore, it provides wonderful opportunities for him to develop and maintain friendships and also access the community as his band plays at bars around Perth,” she said.
“It’s wonderful that the GIVE Program and Therapy Focus can provide a way to help Luke work on his social skills at the same time as doing something he loves.”
Luke is currently a member of 2 bands and has played at many different music venues across Perth. Last week one of his bands played at Badlands in Northbridge, with Luke playing guitar and singing a Smashing Pumpkins song in one of the sets. In the words of mum Lynda, Luke “absolutely smashed it!”
Applications for the next round of GIVE funding open on Monday 4 November. Click here for more information.