Sally was first diagnosed with autism as well as being severely emotionally disturbed because of her remote manner, her volatile behavior, her marked difficulties in social interaction and her obsessive-compulsive habits. Only when the sexual abuse was revealed was she recognized as suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder.
At school behavioral programmes was set up for her, involving clear boundaries, with strict routines and helped her built a sense of autonomy and trust. Sally was often so disturbed that she would harm herself, often banging her head against a wall. It required two adults to hold her to prevent her from injuring herself. Inevitably, this was experienced by Sally as being overpowered by her abusers, increasing her own distress and that of her helpers. Sally’s response to being given help often spiraled out of control, leading her to taking off all her clothes, and running to put her head down the toilet, while flushing it. Sally was obsessive about washing her hands and the rest of her body until her skin bled. For Sally to remain in school, a one on one support system was required at all times. Sally had difficulty trusting people, and was scared of men and dogs, these often lead to normal outings in public places being difficult since it would trigger screaming and panic.
Sally received individual psychotherapy form age 7 to 9 years old but this was cut short when Sally’s mother was unable to take her daughter there regularly. From the age 7 until she was 14 years old, Sally received individual music therapy once weekly, initially lasting 30 minutes and, from the 4th year of therapy, increasing to 40 minutes. The obly reason Sally continued with these sessions was because her learning mentor brought her to these sessions. Sally could not have used her weekly music therapy sessions the way she did if she did not have the daily 15 minutes session with her learning mentor at the end of each school day. Sally’s mother however was wary of meetings with professionals but, with the support of Sally’s learning mentor, gradually became more trusting and met with the music therapist