Bays run supports therapy centre
Music has been a big part of Ryan Herbert's life since he was born.
The 12-year-old is partially blind and suffers developmental delays. But there is one thing he enjoys more than anything and that is making music.
Ryan's grandmother and primary caregiver Julie Herbert says he has always responded to music and was even taught to speak through song.
The youngster has been going once a week to the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre in Auckland for the last eight years.
The centre was established in 2004 by singer-songwriter Hinewehi Mohi and is named after her daughter Hineraukatauri who has cerebral palsy.
Its music therapists have helped people of all ages to reduce isolation, develop speech and motor skills, grow in self-confidence and improve their overall wellbeing.
Each session is designed around the principle that everyone has the ability to respond to music, regardless of disability, injury, illness or circumstances.
Mrs Herbert says the therapy is a perfect fit for Ryan.
"His vocabulary has really gone wild. He has about 50 words that are understandable.
"When he talks it is very sing-songy but that is important for him to recognise and sound out words."
Ryan's love of music extends far beyond the therapy centre.
At home he enjoys playing the cymbals, the drums and an antique decorative bugle his grandfather found last year.
"Morning and night they're out there putting the flag up and playing the bugle," Mrs Herbert says.
"He also has a snare drum. He puts it against the speakers and outside when it's raining to make different sounds.