Life moments with Nick

Our very own Child Life Therapist, Shari Manley, creates moments that can make a day special.

Nick is well known for his wide smile and positive energy. He enjoys movement and music and brings joy to the Hospice when he is free to explore items and instruments that make sound. He has a natural rhythm and is often observed swaying from side to side, his arms moving to an internal beat, his head and shoulders finding a tempo that reflects his mood. Nick is a canvas of energy and emotion, his impact on the hospice and the people in it is profound.

On this day, I introduced some World Music and African drumming songs to the group, I was inspired by another young man who loves to bang and tap, often objects in his environment, today it was the large drums I had borrowed from Pip, the Music Therapist. The music was fast paced, the beat steady and both boys seemed to enjoy listening to the sounds. I observed closely to detect signs of distress or distaste, there weren’t any and so we continued. The music changed to a salsa, it wasn’t loud but atmospherically drifted into the space. Without hesitation I started to move my feet (I love salsa dancing!) and they boys started to move their bodies. Lauren, the volunteer working alongside me, also started to move, she grabbed a drum and kept the beat.

Soon enough we were joined by Isabel, a carer at the hospice, who’s background is Columbian, she started to move and talk about the importance of salsa dancing in her culture. I watched Nick’s smile grow wider and wider, his signature sway making bigger and bigger circles. I offered him a maraca and the orchestra grew. In the next moment, Belinda our physiotherapist joined us. She did not hesitate to move towards Nick and ask if he wanted to stand. Nick’s expressive body indicated that he did. With care and strength Belinda raised Nick from his chair. He was standing. Nick’s smile grew even wider, his arms and upper body continued to sway and soon we were all dancing.

The room was full of joy in that moment, it lasted but a few minutes but the effects lingered throughout the day as we discovered the possibilities of working together from shared interests and collaborative goals.