Monday, 28 June 2010

"Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeves of care"

"My bedroom window" by Susie Mallett, June 2010


Sleep -"Chief nourisher in life’s feast"


Sleeping with a disabilty…

… or without

The discussion at the moment between myself and colleagues is sleep. It is about getting to sleep, getting too much sleep, or not enough sleep. It is about sleep routines and lack of them, about refreshing sleep and not-refreshing sleep, comfort or discomfort. About sleep in the night and naps in the day.

It started off with having nothing to do with how conductors sleep, or how parents and carers sleep, or how Joe Blogs sleeps. But the more I think about it, then the more I realise that this is all one package.


Sleep is important for all of us, it can also be a worry for all of us. We all have periods when sleep is easy, when it is difficult. Times when we do not sleep enough or when we think that we sleep too much. Times when we can exist on next to nothing and times when even ten hours of the stuff does not seem to be enough.


Many people, not only those with a disability, have disturbed sleep patterns. All these people, including the disabled people, have to find solutions to the problems, because we all need to sleep well, if just sometimes to remain healthy.


Problems that occur to prevent healthy sleep can be work-related or because of having too many thoughts to drop off, or they can be due to discomfort, with aches and pains keeping us awake, tossing and turning to get comfortable.


Conductive pedagogy is about learning to solve problems


If there is a disruption of sleep patterns or the inability actually to form a sleep pattern what do we need to consider?


I am going to answer this generally if I can, and not specifically about a specific disabled child or adult, because the more I have discussed this subject, mainly with clients and with my colleague Anne Wittig, I believe that problems involving sleep and their solutions are not specific to disability but to life in general.


We can ask where do the children or adults sleep? Does the sleeplessness disturb the sleep pattern of others?

Do they all get enough sleep?


And if there are problems, we can ask what can we do to solve them?


What do I do if my sleep pattern changes for the worse?


I ask myself first of all whether I need a new mattress, whether I have too many pillows? Am I too hot in bed or am I too cold? Last winter for example I put the heating on at night and not during the day so much. This resulted in wonderful nights of cosy, relaxed sleep and more alert hours in the day. At the moment I have an aching shoulder. Its cause is not the bed but it is disturbing the sleep, I can help the sleep to be more restful by getting the right pillow in the right place before I snuggle down.


Other people may find that a different bed, a different weight of bed-covering, or sheets made from a different material may change the pattern of sleep positively. They are all worth a try.


What do I do if I cannot solve the problem with these practical solutions. What do I do if I am comfortable but still not sleeping?


I can develop a relaxing routine for last thing in the evening. I can prepare myself for bed and for sleep, I can begin to get into a routine while still awake, doing this at a time that is early enough so that I am not over-tired. Not necessarily always the same time but regular timing is easier. To do this at irregular times I need to be particularly aware of what my body is telling me. Knowing my body better is also something else that will help me to develop the good sleeping routine that produces restful sleep.


I could observe what activities I can do before bed so that I am relaxed and can fall asleep quickly. I can observe how late I am able to eat and digest my food before sleeping. I can observe what kinds of food leave me in what frames of mind. I can ask whether warm milk before bed relaxes me and makes me sleepy or whether it causes me to get up in the night to visit the bathroom.


If I live with other people, can observe whether their sleep patterns and routines in the evening disturb my sleeping. I can ask whether my own sleep routines disturb others. If so what should I change?


What do I do if I wake?


Do I turn over and go to sleep, do I practise self-hypnosis, do I get up and make a cup of tea, read a little then return to the comfort of my bed, or is it better to try snoozing on the sofa?


Solving problems


Now I have asked myself all these questions. I can get to work on solving the problems. I have actually recently changed a forty-year old disturbed sleep pattern by doing all of this.


I think that the same questions apply to everyone, a adult or child, someone with a disability or without. I do not think that a parent needs to make sleep routines that are any different for a child with a physical disability from what they do for a child without one.


All parents with children have to develop pre-sleep routines, find the right sleeping positions, discover methods for falling asleep whether the child is disabled or not. Adults need to solve problems with sleeping whether they have a neurological disease resulting in a movement disorder or not.


Individual solutions and trial and error are the only way and there needs to be consistency and endurance.


I do know from my own experience, though, that it takes a long time to change.


My New Year resolution 2009/10 was “Five times out of seven in bed before eleven“. I have only managed more than four times out of seven once: that was the last time I was on holiday with my father. I worked in his garden and I was very tired, I left him watching football and collapsed each night in my bed from childhood! I always sleep in it when I am home in England and this was always the place I headed for when sleep was being awkward, but it had lost its soothing abilities about ten years ago. At Whitsun the qualities returned. It had nothing to do with the cosy bed of my childhood, it was to do with my recognising when I was tired and responding to this. Getting into the routine and sticking to it. At the end I really felt like I had had a holiday.


With a disability


I have been asking around and gathering information from conductors and parents, and both child and adult clients. I have been piecing together all my own experiences with clients over the years.


Learning to sleep with a disability can be as difficult as learning to live with a disability.


It is all part of the conductive upbringing and lifestyle, it is all part of any life style.


Some parents of disabled children need guidance and ask conductors for their help.


Any problems relating to sleep have to be discussed and solutions found within the conductive programme in the same way as problems that involve any other aspect clients’ lives.


Children and adults


Most of the sleep problems that we as conductors come across involve parents and their disabled children rather than adult clients. Some of these do however, follow though into the child’s adult life. Some new sleep problems can develop in the children’s adult lives too, often to do with discomfort and a decreasing ability to move under a duvet. It is vital to at solve any childhood sleep disturbances before new ones rear up their heads in adult life.


Of course problems do also arise with other adult clients, clients who have become disabled later in life. There are the clients with Parkinson’s disease who need help to discover techniques to bring their bodies to rest, there are the stroke clients who wish to sleep on their sides but often cannot decide which side to choose, because they are disturbed by the presence of one or two limbs that the have difficulties moving. It has been known for them to try to throw an arm or a leg out of the bed in half-sleep as they do not recognise it as being part of their own body and it is in the way. Such clients can end up on the floor, resulting in a very disturbed night.


There are the paraplegic and severe MS clients who have to work out methods to turn themselves regularly in bed, taking care not to injure paralysed limbs that have little or no feeling while doing so.


Added to all this, many of these clients have spastic muscle tone to deal with, sometimes shooting spasms that wake them, sometimes muscles that make limbs so stiff that they cannot find a comfortable position in which to fall asleep in the first place.


For many of the problems mentioned here practical solutions can be found. A different mattress, a water bed, maybe with heating so that, if the bed-covers fall off the sleepers remain warm. Perhaps an electric training bike is needed beside the bed, to be used to relax the legs before sleeping again.


Harder problems


There are other problems for which solutions are harder to find. These are the problems that clients and families are more reluctant to discuss in depth, because it will usually mean a big change in the behaviour of all family members if solutions are to be found. Parents may have to realise that they need to be more strict with their child and with themselves, and this is often very difficult.


Let us remain by our child clients at the moment. Their sleep problems can, and often do, accompany them into adulthood.


Let us go right back to the beginning, to babies. Often the children who become our clients are premature babies or children who have suffered serious illness when very young. Such babies may sleep beside or in the same bed as their parents for much longer than non-disabled children normally would.


For all children there are so many methods to be used. All parents have their own way of preparing for bed. Some have a routine from a very early age, from day one in fact, others do not. Some routines are very rigid, others not. Some babies sleep for hours others for only one or two at a time. Some parents do not mind having a toddler still running around at nine o’clock, others do. Methods have to be found for bedtime that suit children, parents and the rest of the family.


When a family has an ill child or a child with disabilities it is very difficult to get into a new bedtime routine once the child gets older and does not need constant care at night. It is these problems that we as conductors most commonly come across. Families who know something needs to change but they need our help to find a good conductive method to make the changes come about.


I have experienced children whose parents had never asked for or found the help that they needed to establish a sleep routine. Their children as teenagers still find it hard to sleep at all if they know that their mothers are not in the house. I have known others who in their teens and even well into their twenties still sleep in the bed of a parent or even of a grandparent. All of these situations do not bode well for their future lives, or their families’.


None of the families that I have spoken to about such situations are happy with the arrangements that they have - but they have no idea how to bring about changes. Slowly, slowly the changes take place with our conductive help.


Individual variations


Such are the problems that conductors and conductive upbringing can help to avoid or also solve if they have already developed.


Each situation is different and has occurred for different reasons. A child perhaps needs rocking to sleep when it is three because it has always been rocked to sleep. We really must find a solution as fast as possible so that a parent does not have to sit there each evening still rocking when that child is thirteen, or twenty-three.


A forty-year-old client said that she always had her own room and slept alone as long as she could remember. She wanted her own space. The only time that her mother sat beside in bed and held her hand was when as a teenager she had an operation and was feeling poorly in hospital. Another mother told me that it was her other child, the one with no disability who was the fitful sleeper and twenty-seven years later she, the mother, still has difficulties getting a regular, long night’s sleep.


Only yesterday I had the same discussion yet again that I had two years ago, with the Mum of a teenager who, despite lots of hard work is getting shorter and shorter because of contractures in the knees. Two years ago it was discussed with therapists and doctors whether we would try night-splints, try knee stretching splints for standing during the day, passive stretching or an operation. I suggested lots of CE and night splints. Nothing has been done. The doctor believes that nights are for sleeping and not for wearing splints, and the child does not want any at all, day or night. The operation was postponed but is now on the cards again. It is now inevitable that splints of some kind must be worn, probably only after the operation, so nights will after all be for sleeping, with splints.


Children get used to sleeping with splints. If they know that there is no choice they do it and sleep well. It is when there are choices for children at bed time that the problems begin.


It is of cause necessary to establish whether someone is comfortable in the night. There are various pillows and wedges and foam cushions that can be used to achieve the best posture for sleeping, both for children and adults. There are many other things to be considered just as there were for myself (as I listed at the beginning of this posting). For our clients these could also include:


Side lying pillow

Electric cycle to use to reduce spasticity in the night,

Night splints

A regular rhythm of waking and turning someone

Music

Autogenus training (self hypnosis)

Specific routines, beginning them at the same time each day

Eating and drinking before bed.

Water bed with heating, or heated under-blanket

Reading stories, singing, TV or no TV


A general principle


I did say that I was going to try to write in general about sleep. The general conclusion that my colleague Anne and I came to was that on the whole sleep routines need to be established in much the same way for disabled clients as for non-disabled children and adults. This includes establishing routines for things that non-disabled people do not need, for example help with turning over or when going to the bathroom, or when taking medicines or drinking.


A routine in such situations is just as important for the carer as it is for the client.


We all need to get a good night’s sleep.


Macbeth, Act II, Scene 2, 35-41 :

Me thought I heard a voice cry “sleep no more!

Macbeth does murder sleep,” the innocent sleep,

Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeves of care,

The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,

Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,

Chief nourisher in life’s feast,-


Notes


Thank you to Anne Wittig for the exchange of ideas over the past few weeks. It has been very enjoyable and very helpful to us both.


Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Act II, Scene 2, 35-41

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macbeth


Monday, 21 June 2010

Muscular dystrophy and a conductive upbringing.


"The rough with the smooth" by Susie Mallett 20th June 2010



Calling conductors who have experience in this field!

I have some experience having had children in our groups now and then over the years with muscular dystrophy.


While I was doing my training in Hungary, at the Petö Institute, I remember that I was told by a conductor that conductive groups no longer took children with muscular dystrophy as they believed it upset the children with cerebral palsy when they witnessed when the dystrophy children ceased to progress and slowly lost the strength they had acquired in the early years in conductive groups.


I do not know if this really was the policy or not, but while I was there in the late eighties and early nineties I did not meet any children with muscular dystrophy.


As a student conductor I visited many centres in Budapest and in other cities in Hungary that were offering conductive education, all with conductors, some with and some without connections to the Petö Institute. Some centres had supervision by conductors from the Petö Institute several times a year just as many of the centres in Germany still have. Some centres paid for students to study at the Petö Institute and once they were conductors they went several times a year for refresher courses and to work in groups that were relevant to the work in the centre where they worked.


I remember that at one of these centres I observed the work in a group which was made up of both young children with cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. I was told that here too that they had decided to change their policy and no longer take children with muscular dystrophy in the groups for the same reasons as I was told at the Petö Institute. The children with muscular dystrophy at this centre remained in the Kindergarten group but when they reached school age it was planned for them to attend another centre.


There were other institutes apart from the Petö Institute in Budapest where these children could have attended classes, it was less easy to find placements for them in the country towns.


At the moment we have children in the integrated Kindergarten and in the Tagesstätte (after school) groups who have muscular dystrophy. One is five years old and another is now fifteen. The younger child is building up his strength and learning how to carry out activities with the strength and skills that he has. this child takes part in activities that he had not attempted before and is delighted to be taking giving it a go!


He has his own scooter and go cart to use when he is outside with the other children and when he is with us in the conductive sessions he is learning the movements he needs to use these and other toys. He is developing his own techniques for climbing and walking and even running. He is building up more control in his body at the same timeas learning all these new skills.


The fifteen years-old child has attended the after-school group since she was seven years old. She is unfortunately not as active as she was as a young child. She still learns during the conductive sessions how she can position her body and use the skills she has to make the most of the strength and abilities she has and how to use these in all her daily activities.


Yes it is sad for her peers to see that this child is less strong than before but this group has been together for so long they are like family for each other, therefore I am sure that they would be sadder to see their friend move to different group than they are seeing her condition worsen.


In my training I did not come across children with muscular dystrophy. All my knowledge in this field I have acquired from asking more experienced conductors, from the observations I was able to make in other centres I have visited, from my own personal experience working with children and of course from reading.


I have a lot of experience with young people with multiple sclerosis and I can call on a lot of what I have learnt in this field when I am working with children with muscular dystrophy.


In my experience often children with muscular dystrophy have been sheltered in their upbringing, protected perhaps a little bit too much and have not experienced as many of the normal things of childhood as they could have done. Families often believe some activities are too strenuous for the children, or that they should not be required to take part in the normal family activities like washing up, baking, setting the table, helping wash the car etc so they can save their energy. When these children are so inactive they often get weaker and do not learn the social and practical skills that they need for their everyday life.


Just as with clients with multiple sclerosis it is important with clients with muscular distrophy to find the happy medium. To encourage and motivate the clients to lead an active life but also to help them to learn their limits, so they recognise when to rest and learn how to relax.

With children with muscular dystrophy it is important to give them activities for a short time and with different movements and energy levels required. We must do this too with children with cerebral palsy, planning activities according to their abilities and stamina levels.


Especially with young children it is important to change the activity often and to make the day interesting and motivating, although it often happens that children will surprise us all by becoming so excited and motivated that they will do something for a relatively long period of time.


When working with children with dystrophy it is important to observe where the limits of their strength are, to try to extend these limits but at the same time preserve enough strength so the child can actively take part in all the other planned parts of a programme and their day. As a conductor we must watch and change activities both individually and for the whole group when necessary.


With adults with multiple sclerosis it is very important that they gradually become aware of their limits and their abilities themselves, and that they seek to extend these but also to learn with our help how to do just enough so that the next day is also as active as the one before and that they do not need to spend it in bed, totally exhausted.


My adult clients gradually learn to tell me when they wish to leave out a couple of tasks because something aches or they are tired, children tend to carry on until they are worn out. With the adults I can respond to their wishes by spontaneously building a few more breathing or relaxation tasks into the routine so they can join in again if and when they wish. When working with children, as a conductor I have to plan the day to accommodate the child or children in the group with muscular dystrophy. We still need a programme that is continuously changing from sitting to standing, from jumping to singing, from lying to walking, from painting to bike riding, water play to lunch break. There must be active times of rest and active times of play, lots of observation, lots of laughter and hopefully lots of progress.


Together with our group and with our Littlie with muscular dystrophy we are doing very well, he is in our conductive group with five nationalities. His mum is doing well too, she comes to visit the group often to learn with us.


As well as learning to speak German our Littlie can now walk to and from the dishwasher carrying the plates and glasses from the table until the table is cleared! He can walk up the stairs without pulling himself up on the banisters with his arms, he even walks along a bank on his own and on top of a row of plinths. He can sit on the floor with his legs in front or with them crossed unsupported by his hands so he can play games and do puzzles and he can throw a ball from above his head with two hands and into the basket-ball net. He can cut his own food and hold a big fork ( they are heavy). He can roll a snake from clay and stir the mixture for a cake and he can reach the tap to rinse his paint brush by standing on tip toes. He also can ride his go-cart without always needing a push from a friend .


That is quite a long list of skills all of which go towards making his day very independent and also full of fun. As he learns to use his energy in the right places and in the right amounts for the job he is doing and as he adapts his movements so less energy is actually needed, at the end of the day he is no more exhausted than the rest of his friends in Kindergarten.


In comparison to my wide experiences working in stroke groups and MS groups, and with children and adults with cerebral palsy and with spina bifida, I have must less experience working with children with muscular dystrophy, although this experience increases too as the years go by.

If any of my readers have something to tell us of their own experiences with muscular dystrophy and a conductive upbringing please do write it here. Either in a comment or in an email for me to publish, or even write it on your own blog.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Times they are a-changin'

"Being an artist on a Sunday"
by Susie Mallett " 2oth June 2010



He's got everything he needs he's an artist, he don't look back!


In the “Notes and Queries” section of my English weekly newspaper this week someone questioned what has happened to Bob Dylan’s voice.


This reminded me that I had something somewhere in my notebook, scribbled down in haste some time ago.

It was a quote I had read that comes from Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, Volume One. It had been on the wall beside a painting by Bob at an exhibition of his works that a friend of mine had taken me to see. This was the first time I had seen any of Bob Dylan's artworks.


It was actually the friend who turned to me and pointed out how conductive this sounded:


“Creativity has much to do with experience, observation and imagination and if any one of these elements is missing it doesn’t work”


Yes it does sound a bit conductive but then again as I often say most of life does.


The more experience I gather in my work and in my life I realise that however much I read about this or about that, it is by doing and experiencing that I learn the most. It is my experiences that teach me the lessons I need to develop and progress in all that I do.


It is my observations at work and of life that affirm this to me, give me ideas and also give me time to gather my thoughts.


It is my imagination that enables me to use my experiences and my observations creatively.


So thanks for this Bob and thanks too to my friend for pointing it out to me.


Don’t think twice its alright


As to what happened to Bob Dylan’s voice. I don’t know. In this piece of writing from his Chronicles and in the paintings that I was fortunate to see I would say that his “voice “ is doing as well as ever it was.


However I think the author of the question really meant his singing voice. I have not heard Bob sing live recently so I cannot comment on his voice now, but I heard him sing in Budapest in 1992 and I asked myself the same question then. Each time I hear him his voice sounds different, that’s what makes Bob Dylan Bob Dylan!


In my opinion as far as the words, the music and the paintings are concerned Bob Dylan’s voice is still making itself heard loud and strong and clear, all the elements he mentioned that he needs to be creative seem to be still there. Some of the elements I need as a condcutor to be creative too.


Notes


She's got everything she needs she's an artist she don't look back, (She belongs to me) -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBgd9p1ZfO8&feature=related


Bob Dylan's Artwork -

http://www.bobdylanart.com/standard-2010.asp

http://www.bobdylanart.com/standard-2009.asp

http://www.bobdylanart.com/standard.asp

http://www.bobdylanart.com/book-2009.asp


Chronicles Volume One, published o October 5, 2004 by Simon & Schuster-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronicles:_Volume_One


It is difficult in Germany to track down Bob Dylan songs as I cannot watch anything from Sony produtions but:

The voice seems fine here -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiRLTvfVtww&feature=related


and here -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiyXdEcNQCg


and of course here, many years ago with old friend Joan Baez -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPoNfvX7V6M&feature=PlayList&p=57C67C7DE0AF244C&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=1


Don’t think twice its alright: two elderly gents playing a mean guitar and one lovely voice-

And one more just for fun as the guitar playing is so good! -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1HCAbq2brc&feature=related

They are still talking about it

"Shoes on sale"
England, May 2010



What we wear on our feet


I have just discovered that over a year later people are still coming back to something that I wrote on the Conductive Community Forum, and on my blog, about what we wear on our feet!


I am still interested in what we conductors wear on our feet, and why,we choose what we wear. So if there is still anyone out there with something to say on the subject please do so, either here or on the Conductive Community Forum.


I am still sticking to my trusty lace-ups that give me a firm footing and also keep my feet warm. I am about to have some new inner-soles made by our shoe maker and I am hoping that these will make my shoes even more comfortable.


I have noticed that my colleague has made some changes recently in her work-footwear. She works in the integrated Kindergarten most of the time and I think that she has realised that she has different footwear needs for different activities. There are now three different pairs of work-shoes lined up in the changing room. One for summertime-outdoors, one for tougher work indoors and one for more for gentle work indoors like the singing, reading and playing at the table that happens during and after the midday rest period.


She is very consequent and changes her shoes regularly, she is hoping this will do her feet and legs good. Like the rest of us she is standing up and walking around all day long and feels the symptoms of this at the end of the day.


I think I may take a tip out of her book and invest in a second pair, lace ups again of course.


Read more at:


http://www.conductive-community.com/node/34

http://www.susie-mallett.org/2009/02/back-to-feet.html

http://www.susie-mallett.org/2009/02/what-do-conductors-wear-on-their-feet.html


Saturday, 19 June 2010

What a difference a day makes!

With Dad on top of the world, Sheringham, Norfolk, June 2010

A wide horizon

Dad, in the pink

The azalias and rhododendrons in Sheringham Park,
Norfolk, June 2nd 2010


Looking for the action


A day certainly makes a difference when it is a day when a child discovers that it is possible to go just about anywhere. A day of discovering that it is possible to go independently to wherever the action is without having to ask to be taken there or be passively taken where no interesting action is.


Widening horizons


This is what one of my littlies discovered last Sunday, the day of the Sommerfest. On this day this littlie’s horizons opened up and made a huge impression on her life and on the lives of many others.


Littlie cycled the half a mile or so from home to the summer fete and then just as we had discussed the day before she abandoned the bike for a new big-girl size rolator (she is seven years old). And whoosh….. not only were her horizons wider, offering a lot of new experiences, but her eyes were so wide with the feast of newness that they almost popped out of her head. She was experiencing a very different kind of freedom to that which her bike gives her. On the bike she can be fast, very fast indeed and sometimes even reckless. With the rolator she can only be slow and careful. On the bike contact with others people is hardly possible, with the rolator how different this was. Littlie was going places by foot and actually meeting people face to face on the way.


It does not matter if it is a fete or a party, a holiday, a concert, a trip in the country or to the seaside. Wherever it is it will make all the difference if the going there and the being there is an independent-as-possible experience.


It is the going places because you want to and because you can that is so important. And of course also the deciding to go on to somewhere else that is important too.


Firsts


We all know how good we feel when we achieve something for the first time alone. Something we have worked hard for or something we had previously been afraid to do. It can be a parachute jump or drinking coffee in a café in the city. It can be a bus ride alone or a walk around a summer fest with a rolator. They all give us that same wonderful feeling of achievement and independence. They give us that joy of a first-time experience.


Mingling with the crowds


I was at the summer fete for the first time as a guest. For the past fifteen years I have always had something to organise, a paper-mache art action, a summer bonnet making extravaganza, a recycled clothes fashion show and painting activities galore. This year I was able to mingle and socialise and also to be a conductor!


I moved from coffee with one family to lunch with the next and then on to tea and cakes with another and an evening, after-its-all-over, beer with my colleagues! During the in-between times I could watch the professional golf team teaching children golf, the adult motor cycle group taking the little ones for a spin, children riding go carts and adults chatting with friends and parents. I met the blind man and his dog who was a visitor in my adults group in the spring, and who wants to come again next week and I met a Lebanese university professor who had just arrived from Texas.


A highlight was meeting some of our very first “Petö” children, now adults and teenagers, and watched their joy as they met up with each other.


I met colleagues from different departments and I made new contacts and renewed old ones. During all this coming and going there were quite a few jokes coming my way about Germany’s good, and England’s bad, beginning in the World Cup.


A multi-cultural day out


While I was mingling amongst the crowds now and then I came across Littlie with her rolator. Sometimes I accompanied her on a difficult stretch of ground giving her a few instructions on how to negotiate small steps and verges, at others I just watched. She was having a great time. I could see the interest on her face, the concentration and the sense of achievement. So many people stopped in their tracks as they saw her for the first time on her own two feet, she just beamed and nodded as they asked her questions. It was too strenuous and too loud to attempt to use her new found voice at the same time as walking and standing. That did not matter we could all see the difference this day way making, she was doing what she wanted and doing it alone. She was stopping here and there for a chat, watching this game and that. She played golf with a Scotsman and ate cake with an English lady. She even hopped into a motorcycle’s side-car and rode off into the distance for forty minutes with a German. She was meeting strangers with confidence and doing it all alone.


That day really did make a difference


That day gave that littlie so much confidence that she is walking all over the place this week. Grandma brings the rolator and walks home with her after Petö sessions and mum walks with her holding her hand.


I think the difference began the week before while on holiday, everyone in the family had had time to go walking with her. She discovered that yes, it is possible and on Sunday at the fest with crowds of familiar and some not so familiar faces she could mingle and meet people , she could walk and even attempt some talk.


Other lives, other differences


That day not only made a difference to Littlie’s life. Her mother saw what she could do and told the story at home to Dad and Grandma. The riding teacher saw Littlie for the first time on two legs and not four, and showed her joyous surprise. One of the “old girls” saw littlie and was reminded of her first attempts at walking with exactly the same type of rolator and rejoiced in the results of her own hard work. Mums of these “old” conductive families also saw this and reflected on how worthwhile their own hard work had been and could convey this to the “new” mums.


The bosses saw conductive lifestyles in action and were even more convinced that money is being spent in the right places and I, as always learnt an awful lot. I also wished I had more colleagues so could give more clients the opportunity of discovering what a difference a day makes.


Notes


What a difference a day makes
,
Dinah Washington-
Dinah Washington and Ronald R.-
A trip down memory lane,
What a difference a day makes, Benkó Dixie Band, Budapest -


I have planted in my garden beans and peas and pickling cabbage

My balcony with peas, beans and rocket sticks


I met a giant in England who gave me a handful of beans


Well not quite. There was no giant, just a friend, and also there is no cabbage, but the beans and peas are busy climbing up the balcony. They will soon be in the trees, making their way to the land of giants, but their first stop will be the neighbour up above me.


When I was in England I helped both my Dad and a friend in their gardens. Dad’s beans and peas we planted together at Easter, at Whitsun I helped my friend plant the same.


Dad’s garden is huge so there is always a spot left to stick in the last few beans in the packet when the rows are full, but my friend’s garden is small so the peas and beans that were over were given to me and I have decided to have a go at veggie growing on the balcony.


It is not a very sunny spot but it is sheltered and warm so I thought it would be worth a try.


I arrived back from the UK in the late evening of June 4th and immediately stuck my handful of seeds in the very wet compost wherever I found a space between the geraniums and the passion flowers. Within a week they were not only showing their first green shoots, some of them were six inches high. And just look at them now after only two weeks.


At the weekend I will be asking the neighbour upstairs to tie some strings to his balcony railings and drop them down to me. Any veggies that grow his way he is welcome to pick, I will be thrilled to see if something grows at all. I will be working away from home some days during the height of the summer so my gardening efforts may not come to anything but it is fun just the same watching them grown almost as quickly as Jack’s magic handful grew. They will make a lovely foliage covering for the green men to hide behind.