To mark the 2017 World Autism Awareness Day, which takes place every year on 2nd April, staff and young people wanted to challenged perceptions of autism at the severe end of the spectrum, so aimed high and worked hard to release Prior's Court's very first single, 'Let Me Shine.' The song calls for acceptance and understanding across the spectrum with lyrics such as: 'Accept me for who I am and let me shine.'

Let Me Shine single sleeve80% of the young people at Prior's Court are non-verbal and all have significant difficulties with communication. Before joining us many children or young adults are in crisis, often with placements having broken down, and families struggling to cope.

The specialist approach at Prior’s Court school and young adult provision enables the students to achieve progress in all areas of their lives. The challenges faced by our young people on a daily basis can be immense and we are incredibly proud of what they and staff have achieved with 'Let Me Shine.'

You can find out more about our approach here.

Inspired to aim high 

The idea to release a song all started with a student playing the piano, which prompted staff to look into recording the musical talents of those who enjoy playing instruments. Music is a key part of the curriculum and can be used as therapy. We have seen young people transform through music and staff were keen to capture this, so the idea of recording a song was born. CEO Mike Robinson was keen the song should be made as professionally as possible so brought in professional musicians; Low Island's Jamie Jay and Carlos Posada.

The song was written by Jamie and Carlos following a visit to Prior's Court:

“We were blown away by the incredible relationships we saw between the staff and young people, and wanted that sense of warmth and joy to come across in the song.” The accompanying video reflects the special bonds forged between students and their highly trained staff, and how crucial the 24-hour care and support provided by schools and colleges like Prior’s Court is for their development. The lyrics highlight this: “I have made a connection, A special bond…You and I are friends for life, Stand next to me, walk by my side.” 

       

Over several months the students were taught the song by staff including the speech and language therapists using communication methods such as signing, symbols and written words. The support and advice of Universal Music Group was sought to help with publishing and distribution was donated by Spinnup. Recording sessions and video-making took place at Prior’s Court and professional studios Real World, a staff choir was formed, talented staff instrumentalists emerged and the young people were involved in the recording as well as performing in front of the camera. 

Andy Clark, whose 12-year-old son Harry is featured, commented:

“Harry has behavioural problems, autism and epilepsy, which is why we were so keen to get him placed at Prior’s Court. It’s been brilliant how far he’s come in just six months. To see him taking part in a noisy situation when he was very sensitive to noise is just amazing. Often if you tried to get him to participate it would result in him losing control, self-harming or trying to lash out at other people. We didn’t know where his life was going to lead but now he’s at Prior’s Court he has potential.”

      

CEO, Mike Robinson, estimates that there are around 1000-1500 young people in the whole country who require the high level of specialist support provided by Prior’s Court. As he explains:

“’Let Me Shine’ encapsulates in a number of ways what we’re trying to do at Prior’s Court. The core of it is that we’re trying to be as ambitious as we possibly can for our young people; letting our young people shine.” He adds: “We wanted to have a real crack at releasing a single by getting some professional musicians to help us. It’s been a journey for all of us because none of us have produced a record before. It’s very powerful and really quite exciting; we hope others enjoy it too. We’d like to try to get a million downloads and get it in to the charts!” 

     

The song is a testament to the achievements of the young people at Prior’s Court and the specialist support that enables them to shine.

Success

We have had a phenomenal response to the single; in just 2 days the song had reached over 2.7 million people worldwide on Facebook and the video had over 1 million views. Thank you to everyone who has supported us by buying the single and sharing the video. We are incredibly proud and grateful and would love to keep going.

Please watch, share and download the single if you haven't already as every share helps us to challenge perceptions and every penny raised will go towards supporting our young people further. THANK YOU!

‘Let Me Shine’ is available on Facebook and YouTube and is available to purchase or stream on all major platforms including iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play, Spotify, Deezer, Napster and Tidal, with every penny raised from the song going directly towards supporting the young people at Prior's Court.

Watch the video for "Let Me Shine":

Watch the behind the scenes video:


You can see all of Prior's Court videos on our YouTube channel and you can see more photos from the making of the song by clicking on the photo below.

Let Me Shine

Lyrics:

I have made a connection


A special bond


I help you paint with your own colours 

To your own rhythm

Every day is different


Here we aim high

And everyday is always full 

Of laughter and light

One step at a time


Stand next to me, walk by my side 

You and I are friends for life


Stand next to me, walk by my side

Accept me for who I am and let me shine 

Accept me for who I am and let me shine

I’m not broken
I am unique


So all I want is for you 

To believe in me

We’re all proud


To be part of this place


And we will teach each other 

Something new every day

One step at a time


Stand next to me, walk by my side 

You and I are friends for life


Stand next to me, walk by my side

Accept me for who I am and let me shine 

Accept me for who I am and let me shine