" My sturdy paper dog", by Susie Mallet, 2005
'Do not ask me what I can do for a child. Ask the child what he can do for himself.'
That "proverb" again
The quote that we are trying to trace for Kasey motivated me last week to write the following. I had it written long before comments started flowing in. Now it seems time to post it, with just a few additions.
When I read this quotation I always imagine that I am being asked by a parent or by the partner or carer of an adult client what can you do for me or for us, what do you have you on offer?
I would modify the so-called proverb to:
"If you ask me what I can do for a client, I can teach. If I ask a client what he can do for himself, he can learn. "
There we have perhaps something of both the conductor and the potential.
As a conductor I should know through my observations what clients can do for themselves at a given moment. As a conductor it is my job to motivate clients to want to try to do everything or as much as is possible for themselves.
As a conductor I am continually observing what clients can do independently and always moving forwards so that clients achieves more activity and independence. I am not always looking at first at how they do something for themselves, although this comes into it, the fine tuning takes place in the doing, as people become more and more active.
What I have written below had happened to me on the day that I heard about Kasey’s search, I immediately wrote it down in my note book, as I always do when I find something that I wish to share.
I observed this scene through the window of my work room as I waited for my stroke group to join me at the table after a short break.
All of the Integrated Kindergarten children were out in the garden. As usual on a hot day the drinks trolley was outside and the children helped themselves as and when they needed refreshment. The big ones helping the smaller ones with the pouring out.
I noticed the newest member of our "Petö" group cycle up to the trolley, jam on the brakes of his trike and begin the self-service routine.
I was mesmerised
His actions were a little clumsy and there were no older children watching or playing nearby at that particular moment to assist. This little boy did not call out for help, he was determined that he could do it for himself!
And in his own fashion, he could.
The cup got filled but as he didn’t stop pouring the jug got emptied over Bobby Car and the ground. He was outside so no real damage done, just a sticky bike and wet shorts, and a puddle on the ground.
I was thrilled to observe this. Not all the spillage and wetness but the actions.
Just two weeks ago this child drove into everyone and everything with his trike, he had no idea what to do with the brakes or with the steering. Now he is no longer running over people and yesterday he was so advanced with his driving skills that he used the drinks trolley as a drive-in, with perfect close-up parking.
Two months ago this child with ataxic movements would not have attempted to pour himself a drink. He would not have known where to start. He would have immediately called, impatiently, for help. Now he has a go first, to see if he can do it for himself.
His motto these days is "Just do it"
I looked on quite impressed with this little one's courage and development.
I very nearly cried when I saw the joy on his face replaced by despair when he spilt more than just a drop or two of the red tea when he forgot to stop pouring, and poured until he had emptied the jug. He looked bewildered that he couldn't quite work out what had gone wrong.
Then one of the older girls saw the dilemma that he was in and she rushed over to assist him. Unfortunately this sudden movement alerted the attention of the assistants, and out came the cleaning clothes and bucket of water, but sadly not the praise that this little boy so much deserved for all the wonderful things that he had achieved.
Instead he received the advice that he should not do it alone next time but call for help.
I do so hope that he does try alone again next time and remembers or is reminded in the nick of time to stop pouring!
I returned to my stroke group who brought me back to reality. We were saying our good byes until August and my clients reassured me that I am doing my job properly and thanked me profusely.
My moist eyes dried but my thoughts were still with that tiny boy who is so full of potential and knows the things he wants to do for himself.
We must be there next time to show him how.
I love checking on your blog and was inspired again by the heart warming story about the boy "doing for himself". We take so many things for granted when our bodies work normally. Hope you are enjoying the summer with your students!! We had talked about linking up on skype and I would still love to look into this so Cassie can meet you and benefit from your CE tips
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