Arianna is twelve years old and lives in Livingston. Her mum, Tracy, says she has always been musical, “Ever since she’s been old enough to talk she’s been singing. She absolutely loves it, and has a lovely voice.” Arianna has autism, and can find it difficult to cope in busy settings or in social situations. Tracy said, “When Arianna was younger, she spent five years in a specialist autism unit, as she was finding it really difficult to cope with mainstream school. She finds it hard to make friends and can be quite aggressive when she feels frustrated. When she has meltdowns, it’s really distressing and especially now she’s older, they can be hard to deal with. I’ve always been determined that I’ll do the best for her, I want her to experience different things. Some days are really tough, but the grants we’ve had from Family Fund have really helped.”

Tracy first heard about Family Fund through Arianna’s autism unit. “In the past, we’ve applied for materials to decorate Arianna’s bedroom, which was great, and she’s also had an iPad which was brilliant. Having the technology has really helped her catch up with her education and to enjoy success at school.” This year, Tracy applied for a keyboard for Arianna, so that she can nurture her musical talent.

“We chose a keyboard that can record, so that Arianna can record her singing and put it to music. She’s learning to play, and we also got some Beats headphones so that she can listen to music and her own recorded songs too. It’s great to see her able to enjoy and express herself through music, she’s got great potential.”

“Arianna started high school this year, and she’s settled in really well. She knows now when she is becoming overwhelmed, and has a Time Out card so that she can leave a lesson if it gets too much. The school also has a recording studio and they are very supportive of Arianna’s music. I’m so pleased with her progress, she’s come so far and having the keyboard will definitely help her development even more.”