Talented Drummer Jake
WPH CHARITABLE TRUST HELPS TALENTED JAKE PURSUE HIS DREAM
A teenager with autism who discovered a talent for drumming after struggling in mainstream education has been given a helping hand in pursuing his passion by the WPH Charitable Trust.
The Trust paid almost £5,000 for an electric drum kit and a purpose-built shed for Jake Smith, who has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition.
Jake, now aged 19, shut himself away in his room between the ages of 13 and 14 after struggling at secondary school. For two years he would sleep all day and stay awake all night.
Family liaison officers advised his mother Angie to take him to Leamington LAMP – a specialist centre which provides a creative environment for young people with Autism Spectrum Condition and anxiety, encouraging self-expression through the arts.
Then a new centre, Jake was amongst the first students and during his time there he has flourished.
He has gained a maths GCSE and Level 2 and Level 3 music qualifications, built a social circle and is regularly undertaking work experience with Leamington music shop Dr-um.
Jake is now keen to pursue a career in music.
He said: “When I was at school I didn’t enjoy music lessons. But my dad plays the drums so when I saw the drum kit at LAMP I decided to have a go. Within three months of learning I played at a gig. Then I started taking it really seriously.”
Before lockdown Jake regularly practised the drums for around eight hours a week. But since the virus he has barely been able to practise. It was then that his mentor Tahmina Sorabji applied to WPH Charitable Trust for help with funding the kit.
Mother Angie said his progress since discovering the drums had been immeasurable.
“There has been a huge change from where we were at school to where we are now.
“Until discovering LAMP I did not know which way things were going to go. I was really struggling with Jake and had no answers. The only thing we did know was that school was not right for him.
“LAMP seemed to come along just at the right time. When I look back now to how things were we have seen a huge change.”
Tahmina added: “Jake has faced many challenges in his young life in coping with his condition. His progress has been amazing. Drumming is Jake’s means to engage with the world and he is an exceptionally talented young musician. The benefit the electric drum kit and practice room will bring to his mental health and professional prospects are life- changing.”