17 OCTOBER 2021

The story of Kostas, at the Music Workshop for people with intellectual disability

Kostas is a person with severe intellectual disability, a mobility impairment (disability) rate of 85% and an IQ below 30. Raised with a lot of love in a healthy family environment, he is a young man whose appearance is neat. From the time he was born to the present day, his family has been providing him with a decent life, doing everything humanly possible to meet his daily needs. For that, they deserve many congratulations.
A fan of rides and traffic, Kostis greets and cheers every time a car passes by, as vehicles, especially big ones (trucks, buses, articulated lorries) are his great love. He is also an athletic guy! He likes to spend a lot of time on the treadmill, because this calms him down.

He bites his hand when he gets angry and hits his chest when he wants something very much. When he happens to do something that he doesn’t like, he pretends to cry to show you that it’s not among the things that please him… But once you indulge him and change the activity, he will give you his most beautiful and sweet smile! Because of the nystagmus in his eyes, he cannot remain steadily focused on an object. However, he sometimes achieves eye contact, especially when he is trying to get what he wants, but also when you help/lead him to understand that being close to people is pleasant and important.

Helping him develop social interactions is equally important. Eye contact, which he has worked very hard to conquer, is the result of his effort to succeed. As regards the cognitive part, Kostas does not know how to read and write and there is no reason why he should. He doesn’t always understand verbal guidance. He has no particular problems with the staff, but when he is in close proximity to other beneficiaries there is some irritation, as he uses to greet those next to him repeatedly and pull them by the hand, in an attempt to communicate and interact with them.

Yet all these were before Kostas started on his music therapy!

With the help of music, the specially configured areas of the music workshop and his properly trained therapists, Kostas, “the small giant of our association”, managed to set himself boundaries with the proper guidance of his therapists and to take off his shoes and his jacket and happily enter the room ALL ON HIS OWN! He enjoys every minute of his music therapy session and exits the room, when he hears the words “the music is over” in sing-song from his therapist.

Kostas is one of the beneficiaries of the project “Music Workshop for People with Intellectual Disability”, implemented by the “Agioi Theodoroi” Association for the Care of People with Mobility Impairments and Intellectual Disability in the Prefecture of Rodopi”, under the Active Citizens Fund program. The project involves the creation of a Music Workshop for people with intellectual disability in the Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, where no providers existed offering specialised music education and music therapy for people with intellectual disability.
Through the workshop, which began in the second half of 2020, Kostas was greatly helped by the beneficial properties of music. He learned to participate and cooperate. Of course, he shows in his own unique way his music wishes and preferences (he is very fond of the folk repertoire)… And to every music choice he does not like, he reacts by not participating!

A proper “gentleman”, he always offers the place next to him to anyone, to sit and keep him company. While, always smiling and well-dressed, Kostis blows to all those present a “kiss” when leaving the Workshop. This is the little Kostas of our hearts!

Click below to watch the video with the presentation of the results of the project “Music Workshop for People with Intellectual Disability”: