Tacpac® Top Tips
Help 'pupils' prepare for each new experience by showing them the object first, bringing it up close for them to inspect; they also might want to handle it before you use it on their body.
Give the 'pupil' their own set of objects to handle while you run the session (so gather 2 of everything).
Experiment using greater pressure. Some pupils may not have a strong sense of their body or where parts of their body are located (weak proprioception), and the greater pressure helps them work out what is going on, and which part of the body is being touched.
Help the 'pupil' feel physically stable. If the pupil has difficulty orienting their body in space, sitting up etc, then they can find it difficult to concentrate on anything else until they feel secure in their own physical space - let them lie down if they want, or prop themselves firmly up against something. Once they feel physically stable, then they will be able to focus on the music and touch experiences.
Always try to go at the 'pupil's' pace. If the pupil finds it difficult to manage a whole session (the 6 activities with one CD), you can fast forward to the end of a track, and just do short sections of each.
One set (the 6 activities with one CD) can be used over a long period, e.g. 3 school terms, or 8 months for a receiver with profound and multiple learning difficulties, repeating the same session weekly. A young person may use Tacpac for years, and take it with them from their early years setting into other contexts as they get older.
Pauses between tracks. If you or the pupil need longer than the 30 second silence after each activity, use the pause button on the CD player.
Repeating tracks / activities. You may want to repeat an activity, or make it longer. Use the back button on the CD player and play the track again.
Encourage the pupil to become a giver. They may want to do the activity on themselves, or on you.
Intensify colour. If the pupil is visually impaired, add some florescent paint to the objects, or find shiny versions of them.
Monitor changes over time. Use the observation sheets to jot down the pupil's responses each time, and compare your notes over time.
Responses are to be welcomed, whatever they are. The pupil may reject an object or tactile stimulus, but this should not be seen as a 'negative' or a problem. It is an indication that the pupil has experienced something, and expressed a preference, which is a positive!
Let someone do a session on you. This is great fun! It also gives you a good insight into what a pupil you work with might be experiencing.
Include young children as givers.
Positioning speakers. Many people with PMLD have hearing difficulties as well; do think carefully about where the speakers are placed and experiment with various levels available on your equipment