The disabled adult who got out of his wheelchair for music

Cedarwood provides a range of activities to cater to individuals with a variety of disabilities and needs. The below case study shows how Skoog helped Robert, who has learning disabilities get out of his wheelchair.


Robert has physical disabilities which prevent him from walking without assistance. He also has very limited communication skills. Robert can use his limbs to move on the floor from a seated position. He communicates using noises and gestures and likes to explore objects and people through touch. During sessions spent together, I have noticed that Robert typically responds to instruction erratically with his body and voice but understands direction when spoken or communicated to using Makaton.

To encourage Robert to leave his wheelchair, I placed the Skoog on the floor. Immediately it was clear that Robert favored the drum and vocal-sample sounds. He was so pleased with himself to be making music. We watched Robert smiling, laughing, and even rolling up his sleeves and moving his head in a dance-like manner, indicating that he was enjoying using the Skoog. Witnessing the sense of achievement that Robert was making music all by himself was wonderful.

In the following weeks, I introduced real instruments such as a guitar (which I played) along with drums, percussion, and glockenspiels. Robert really enjoyed using beaters and drumsticks and I encouraged him to use these to hit the Skoog. This led to more interaction with both the Skoog and other instruments. However, I limited beater and drumstick usage to the first half of the session. Over the course of each meeting, I was able to slowly reduce sensitivity on the Skoog software as Robert became more confident in his ability.

Music can have lots of benefits from concentration to listening to therapeutic benefits…relaxation, working with musical instruments, good expression of how people are feeling or not feeling and, depending on the mood of the service users we work with, we tailor the music to meet their needs.’ (Cedarwood, 2010)

What happened next

Over the course of the project, it was fantastic to see the group playing along with backing tracks of different styles, tempos, and timbres. I was able to discover which tracks stimulated each group member. For example, when the group had a lot of energy, I allowed them to play loud or fast music. If I wanted to focus the group, I would trigger a slower or gentler track.


The case studies demonstrate that Skoog can benefit a range of service users with a variety of disabilities.  All the participants were able to use the Skoog regardless of how severe or complex their needs. Overall we are very impressed with the Skoog and can’t wait to see even more progress at Cedarwood.

How can I have a go?

  • Get in touch with Skoogmusic here.