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Friday 20 February 2009

Shoe laces, cipöfüzö, Schnürsenkel

Cipöfüzö 17th february 2009

Tieing tongues

After the word bagoly, cipöfüzö is my all time favourite Hungarian word. Both words just roll off the tongue, with difficulty, and appear to have no meaning or purpose other than to make one smile.

Schnürsenkel sounds quite nice too, but Zwetschgenmännle remains my favourite German word for the very same reason, that although it is difficult to say it always brings a smile to my face.

Tieing shoes

Most of the children in our group have velcro fastenings on their shoes so we have to find other ways other than "real life" to learn to tie shoe laces.

We have a game where each person gets a cardboard shoe and a dice with coloured spots is thrown to see which colour shoe gets to thread the next hole. There is an accompanying story book which is all about a little boy called Lucas who is also learning to tie his shoe laces at the same time as us.

We do have such a game, but...

Weaving tales

Teaching children to tie shoe laces is one of the things that I love best and there is no need for a game and a story book. There are so many funny stories to make up, about snakes weaving their way around trees, or rabbits jumping in and out of holes, never escaping from sight because of their long ears, tales of fairies passing magic spells on knots thatnever come undone. We get lost in a faraway land of strange folk and animals who all seem to have moved into this shoe that we are working on. It is lovely and it could, if we let it, take over the whole day!


Cipöfüzö, Schnürsenkel - shoe laces, in Hungarian and German

Bagoly - a Hungarian owl

Zwetschgenmännle - a German dried plum man


Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the trouble of indexing your blog. This will be a great help to your users but it is also extremely interesting in pointing to the upbringing emphasis of what you write,and the dangerously neglected upbringing dimension of Conductive Education.

I have just been reading the honest, informative and heartening reports from a mother who is currently at a CE camp with her daughter. Parent-blogging is going to add a whole new transparency to CE services/programs of every kind and, if this early example is going to be typical, then such reports will offer those with time and sense to follow such blogs a golden opportunity to begin to draw much more sensible conclusions about the process, goals etc of conductive pedagogy. Do hope that future researchers will have the time and the sense to try this.

But ooch, ouch, I also hope even more that readers will have the sense to try and discern what is really happening here, and look beneath the language used to describe this and the false conclusion to which this discourse almost inevitably leads. Here’s a small example that relates to working between two lines (my own emphases added):

‘ …you must walk with left foot forward, right hand up and alternate. Interesting to see how difficult this is for children with cerebral palsy. It takes lots of correcting and concentration. Cassie spent a lot of time doing this type of therapy and she really excels in this program.

‘She has to concentrate and correct her foot placement each time. Such easy exercises that could be incorporated into any physical education program or physiotherapy program. Hope to keep these up when she returns to school. [She] thinks these are such fun.’

No one can object to exercising shills learned and exercising the body, but teaching such skills in the first place, that takes pedagogy, and this posting of yours, on shoe laces, clearly illustrates the difference.

More, however, it also shows the wider world of upbringing into which such pedagogy should be part, and I can see why you have indexed this posting into your Upbringing category.

No criticism here, by the way, of the lady writing this blog. We all of us come into Conductive Education weighed down with our previous understandings and this may frame our understandings of what we do, hear, see and experience, sometimes for a very long time. This was certainly true of me and I would guess of you too. Her posting was written only a week or so into the camp. She’ll learn! Most of us do.

Susie Mallett said...

Thank you, Andrew, for putting my thoughts about this Mum's recent posting so clearly into words.
This is the blog I referred to in my last posting, this is the Mum who discovered my blog which triggered me to categorise my postings. It is also because her daughter Cassie and my group were tieing laces on the same day that I wrote about cipöfüzö at all.

This Mum is really enjoying her daughter's successes and supporting her so well on the bad days.
Whole families at camp are supporting each other and enjoying this too.
It is so important as you say to ignore some of the language, which hurts my ears just as my Norfolk accent hurt the French teacher's ears at school, and to look further.

Her blog contains so much information which is invaluable to me. As I listen to her reports on each day I learn more about the needs, and even demands, of families with children with disability.
I can then go on to use what I have learnt. I can begin to mould my "one man band" so I can offer these families something of what they are asking for.

As people will know if they already read my blog I am terribly interested in language.
I have had a very unusual life and I have had to learn both the importance of what words mean and the enormous importance of the sense which lies behind the meaning. I have been told that Luria, who lots of people in Conductive Education talk about and very few actually read, was very hot on this distinction, sense and meaning. The two are different but of course they are connected.

I love looking at people's blogs for the sense of what is going on there. I get to this I hope because I have my own strong sense of what is conductive and what is not. But I really do fear that people who have little or no such sense, or have the wrong sense, of this will get hooked on the meaning of what they read and just end up with a very strange understanding of what they call “Conductive Education”.

This reminds me of my dear old teacher Mária Hári. We always used to say her explanations were wonderfully clear as long as you already knew what she was talking about!

Now I understand.

Kate's Blog said...

Hi Andrew
Glad you are interested in reading a mother's perspective on CE. I am not sure I understand the point you are making about my perception of the individual program working between two lines. I have never heard the term "pedagogy" before so this may be why I dont understand your point. Anyway, it is fascinating to see who is interested in what I write. My blog is a journal for my daughter, myself and our family and friends who are interested in my daughters progress here at ability camp. It is also a way to say thanks for the donations raised to support this very expensive camp. I take the pictures of Cassie if the conductors allow me to. I post them if the parents allow me to. There is only a short amount of time that the parents are allowed into the program. In the past Cassie has done extensive amounts of physiotherapy at Chedoke Children's Developmental Rehabillitation program in Hamilton Ontario. She used a Pony walker, regular walker, treadmill, gait training and other methods to learn to ambulate. I only have the Canadian physiotherapy perspective to compare CE with. There seems to be alot of conflicting views. The conductors dont support some of the types of therapy that we feel have been very useful for Cassie's growth and development. After five weeks I plan to return to Cassie's rehab program that is covered by Ontario Health Insurance Plan but hope to take home some ideas tht we can continue to work on. Cassie's well being is important to her dad and I. Cassie has had Botox (into thumb and various leg muscles), Serial Casting recently before coming to camp. She has used a left AFO and a SMO on her right since 6 months old. She pretty much wears them from morning until night and often wears her AFO and a knee immobilizer at night. I have learned to stretch her and I have learned to mobilize her calcaneous. (To assist with her problem of walking on the outside boarder of her foot.) It is a evolving process where things look great, she grows and things look worse. We have invested huge amounts of time in various therapies for her hand. Focus on Function study, Contraint induced movement therapy, Therapuetic horse back riding programs and she loves Ballet and swimming. I believe children need to be well rounded and too much therapy is not really what I promote. School, day care, church, theatre camp and girl guides have allowed Cassie to participate and shine and develop well along with her peers. We do not participate in any active therapy programs in the summer, Instead we enjoy fun at our trailer where Cassie is free to play, swim and bike ride with her friends and sister. We give her only small reminders to correct things or use a weak hand during the entire summer. Every child needs this free time and we find it invaluable to her growth and development. Interestingly, I have many pictures of Cassie at her after school physio clinic and she is doing the entire progam with her AFO's on. This is very different from her program here at Ability camp.The conductors are working hard to educate me on the dangers of Botox and AFO's as well they do not seem to support orthopedic surgery although they have not commented to me on the surgery Cassie needs. I am still not sure of what is best and may take the best of what I can remember from each type of therapy. I am conflicted as to what are the best options for my girl and I build trust with different professionals and guide my decisions based on what I think is best. I continue to put her AFO back on her left foot after her class here. Cassie loves to run alot and runs better with her left foot supported. I have a terrific orthotist who invests a lot of time and a great deal of skill watching Cassie ambulate. Constant adjustments are made to her AFO's. I still may consider allowing a surgeon to correct her equinovarus foot deformity if the stars align and Cassie works hard and continues to improve her muscle tone problems. I would love to prevent the need for surgery however. It is a continual balancing act. The planned surgery is club foot surgery and the timing is cruical and her specialist sees her every six months and we work together.
Here at Ability camp the CE conductors are presenting me with other options which is empowering and inportant to me. Yesterday Cassie saw a chiropractor who may be able to assist with her leg length discrepancy and twisted foot. The lack of written material here at camp makes it slower for me to grasp and remember what is said. Yesterday Cassie walked down the hall in orhopedic shoes that are too big (borrowed and put on her by conductors) Although I dont like the look of her foot I do not say anything as I respect what they are doing and came here to learn their ideas. Cassie's left foot is rolling over badly as I watched her run down the hall back to her CE class. I am interested in reading alot more information before I give up on some of the medically managed ways of controlling Cassies spasticity and poor muscle tone. I dont believe the amount of therapy she gets at home would ever allow her to be without AFO's without a huge committment on my part. Until Cassie is old enough to make her own decisions I must balance out what I feel is best for her. I am a busy RN, mother and wife. I am just learning CE and yes I relate it to exercise or physiotherapy because it is what I am familiar with. Cassie invested huge amounts of time into constraint induced movement therapy which I also support but unfortunately she looses what she has gained after she goes back to doing what is easiest for her using her strong right side. I have no doubts Cassie will make gains with an intensive program like CE because she makes huge gains in every program she participates in. I am glad I linked to Susie as there seems to be alot of good information on this web site. The internet is how I found Ability camp. Keep organizing the web site Suzie, If I can find the info I am looking for easily I am more likely to read more. The camp here has no written material which I find strange. Like alot of mothers of children with CP I am always overloaded, I lead a hectic life. I have slowed considerably these two weeks because I am away from home.My first two weeks at this camp I have loved what I have seen and more importantly my daughter is having a fun, enjoyable time and she seems eager to do the program. This is what truly matters to me.
I excitingly await more responses from others and love sharing information. Take Care said...


Susie Mallett said...

This is exactly what I have hoped to convey in some of my previous blogs.
The children work so incredibly hard at camps, conductors too, but what for? What happens next?

What about the parents, what are they learning? Who is teaching them, do they attend lectures, seminars or workshops at camp about conductive upbringing or Conductive Pedagogy? How do they acquire the information they need to continue the conductive family life once they get home?

What happens when the family gets home? Are there any home visits by conductors? Is there any follow-up work?
Do the parents know all that their children have learnt at camp, do they know what they can now achieve independently and how?

I do hope so. Otherwise children may become despondent and parents may begin to feel that they are not good enough.

But they are good enough, but often have not been shown how to be. How can they know if they don’t get taught at camp? At camp the conductors have the ideal place to continue outside the group to show the families how to live conductively. Families are there 24 hours a day. It would just need a second shift of conductors and Bob’s your uncle “conductive upbringing”!