My visitors today

Sunday 31 January 2010


Not only the right kind of snow, but an hour of sunshine to go with it

How many conductors have experienced a parents' meeting where the parents don’t have a notebook with them.

Lists for parents

I learnt a long time ago that, when I show a parent the many different things that a child can do, whether at home or at school, in the playground or out on the streets, then I must always provide two sheets of paper, one for me and the child and one for the parent.

I already have my own notes on a separate sheet.

These new sheets of paper are for jotting down memos. The parents I leave to find their own method of recording these memos.

Lists for children and for adult clients

Together with the child I drew our memos as pictures, the child deciding on the images that will represent the tasks and activities.

I also use this method with stroke-clients with aphasia. If they are able, they tell me their suggestions for the images that they associate with the tasks, movements and activities. If they can’t tell me, then the other members of the group suggest something.

When I work at home with families I find a place together with the children to pin up their list. A place where they can see it every day and I practise with them how they will choose one or more items on the list to think about and work on throughout the day.

The parents have a paper too. Perhaps they have included things that they can talk about with physiotherapists, speech therapists or with teachers. Or they canhang their paper in the kitchen or the bathroom, to remind them during their busy days what can be done and when and how.

The need to teach

I was reminded of how I do this one day this week when my colleague was preparing for a meeting with a mother. I said not to forget two pieces of paper and two pencils. She asked me what for, indicating that the parents don’t write anything.

Parents generally don’t, she is right. As with many other things we need to teach them.

It doesn’t take much, just two pieces of paper and two pencils and a few suggestions at first of what they could write down. They learn fast. As with many aspects of Conductive Education this is common sense, but it has to be thought of first.

Many of my parents still arrive with no pencil and paper but most of them now ask me where they can find them, and then they fetch them for themselves.

The children and adult clients all know that they will receive such a list from me and actually get excited at the prospect of being asked later how they have used it.

Lists for the littlies

Just this week I started to make lists with my littlies in the group. They are often brought to the group by people other than their parents, either grandparents or classroom assistants, or taxi- drivers.

This week we started a list called “Things Mama and Papa should know”.

These children have just started school. They are so enthusiastic about the new-found ability that they have to read the words that they come across. They read words everywhere. Words that are written on the furniture, words that they see in the street in advertisements, and then there are the words on the back of the cornflakes packet. These all get read and talked about.

It isn’t only the reading that is so thrilling for them. They use every opportunity that they get to grab a pen and write down whatever comes to mind, either what they have learnt at school that day or just little notes to each other.

They were delighted by the idea of writing lists together.

We wrote with words too, not just with pictures. The children decided which information needed to go home, several of the points that I wrote for quickness, and they had a go with writing and depicting some of the others. It was a success.

Some of the successes and the information that I wrote for them

  • I am practising to walk holding someone’s hand.
  • I want you to know that I prefer to do jigsaw puzzles on the floor because I need to use my knees to hold the puzzle in place.
  • I baked bread today standing up.
  • I stepped onto a box and stood there alone for the first time today.
  • I scrubbed my fingernails with a brush.

And they wrote...

  • I learnt how to sew this week.
  • I am learning to walk using sticks.
  • I was pleased to see my friend again today.

I think that perhaps I should have written:

  • Please do not feed me, I am not a bird.
  • Please listen to me, as I know what I need.

The blogosphere lists

I have been collecting my thoughts all this week for this posting as things cropped up. On one day there was a Google Alert amongst my emails that seemed to fit the bill.

I get up to ten Google Alerts each day, about all things conductive, sometimes even electricity. I sift through them if I have the time before I delete them. Some I send on to Gill Maguire just in case there is something new to her that could be of use for her valuable lists, and sometimes there is one, like the one this week, that fits in with what I am thinking about.

Google alerted me to another parent blog. This time it was a Mum writing about how she puts her list on the fridge door, so that she can be reminded regularly of her visions for the near future.

I have decided that I am going to buy lots of magnets for my parents, carers and groups, so that we can design our own fridge magnets with our own lists and messages on them.

Now it is time for me to start ticking of things on my list for this "getting-ready-for-Monday" Sunday.

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