My visitors today

Monday 7 June 2010

My conductive lifestyle

"A day at the market", by Susie Mallett, England, May 2010

Talking about conductively curing shyness...

I went out to buy a new bra today.It cost me a fortune, but I need it to go underneath a dress that I will wear for my friend’s wedding.

I never used to bother with bras. That really is a good thing too, as they are so expensive that I would never have been able to afford them when I was younger. It is still something of a treat even these days.

About two-and-a-half years ago now I decided that I would start to bother. This it was one of the results of my own conductive upbringing.

No longer feeling such a skinny ribs but in fact still only a 32A (though sometimes a 34A) I opened my eyes anddiscovered that I could actually go to a shop and be measured by experts. So a year after wearing bras that I had badly fitted for myself I took advice from a friend and went along to a department store in England where really lovely, smiley and very kind ladies work out what size/fitting is needed.

I discovered this is a very specialist field. I was really impressed on entering a world that before I had not known existed . I had had no idea previously that such departmentsor such kind ladies existed, or even that bras were indeed "fitted"!.

I have been sitting here wondering what actually was the conductive connection in my bra-shopping experience. I could feel that there was something when I was in the fitting department in England the first time and then again more recently. in Germany. But what was it exactly? There was of course all the work I had been doing on myself to have the courage to do this the first time round. Even today it was not easy, but there was more to it than that.

I am thrilled with the new experience of discovering that there are actually ladies who know whether a bra fits properly, with just one look and a bit of a tug. Ladies who, before bringing a few bras to try out, are there passing a tape measure quickly and deftly around different parts of the body.

Actually, today’s lady knew everything about picking my new underwear much better than I did. She refused to sell me a white one, too harsh she said, a cream one apparently would be better, and she was right. The one she lead me to choose fits like a glove and is really pretty too.

I spoke to a fellow conductor after shopping and commented that I thought that there is certainly a connection between my bra purchase and families seeking conductive education. She agreed.

On reflection

When I look back I realise that I really enjoyed the first "fitting" and also the more recent experience, although on both occasions I went out of the house in trepidation. This time it was a sunny day, the first real warmth this summer, so the streets were crowded. Those crowds nearly made me give up on my mission, but I persevered and I was so happy to discover that in the shop there was hardly a soul, everyone was out on the street enjoying the sunshine.

Therefore the assistant had all the time in the world. Actually she sought me out to see if she could help me, and then, after helping a lot, returned several times to check whether I was alright. I was amazed, as I really did feel OK. I was being really well looked after. I was being given the confidence to make my own choices and I came away with just what I wanted. I was also a lot wiser as far as bras go. I had been educated one step further!

There are experts in everything,. Around here there are experts in beer -brewing, toy-making, sausage-production and Lebkuchen-baking. Today I met another expert, a bra-expert, and she was certainly the best bra-expert thatI have come across in my long, two-year experience! She did a really good job. She made me feel confident in my choices, and imparted her knowledge without making me feel at all inadequate or worried about my shape.

The positive experience also gave me the confidence to face the crowded streets again and make my way home through the less crowded old part of town.

Many people do not know that these special ladies exist, I expect that the majority of women never get a fitting for a bra, or even try them on in a shop with a specialist hovering nearby to give a tug or a twist here or there. It is similar in the world of disability. Many people do not know that conductors exist. They move from pillar to post, trying one method after the other, some are good, some not so good, some are bad, and often none really fit properly. They do not fit in with family life, they do not suit the children or there is not that feeling of having found the right way, so the search for a good fit goes on.

Just as I was thrilled to have found a way to wear a bra without my skinny ribs hurting, just as I had found out that the experts in the field are kind and full of understanding, just as I discovered that these experts are willing to do their utmost to find the right way, so I hear time and time again that this is what many families discover when they eventually find Conductive Education.

Trepidation and hope

These families too go along to a first meeting with trepidation just like I did to the bra-fitting appointment. They hover around on the doorstep, until a welcoming voice asks whether they can be helped. I expect the relief flows over them when they realise that they are in the hands of experts who care about finding the right way for the individual needs.

I know that this all sounds a bit far-fetched, that it is a bit trivial to compare bra-buying with searching for a method to use in a family with a disabled child. But in a week that has had Palmolive Madge and mediocre Italian "masterpieces" doing their bit for CE, why not bra fitting?

Bra-buying and conductive education? I just felt it was so conductive while I was doing it, just as are so many other aspects of my life. Not the actually buying and the handing over of the money, that is not what I mean, but the days of thinking about it and the fears and angsts, then the discovery of where there are the people who can help, the people who care.

Finding parallels

It was the parallels that I found as I was going on this new journey of discovery, those first tentative steps that I made, with the search leading to the discovery that there are experts out there to educate me, that kept nagging at me, that this was like a search for conductive education. While bra-buying I realised that there are different solutions to the different problems, just as there are in conductive upbringing, while still using the same method. Bras come in every shape and size imaginable, so does conductive upbringing. This all seemed so conductive, I just could not leave it unsaid.

I have at last discovered that bra-wearing can be comfortable and that buying them can be fun and reassuring. Learning a conductive lifestyle can these too. The best bit about the bra-fitting was discovering in the shop when I was measured that the expert just treated me like a normal person, not as an oddity because I was different, because I was a skinny-ribs or because I did not know anything about the subject. I was the customer, I was special at that moment but at the same time normal..

All women are different and somewhere there is a bra to fit each one of us. All our conductive clients are different but there is a conductive lifestyle to suit each one of them. That is the beauty of conductive upbringing, it is so adaptable and flexible. It can be adjusted to fit everyone if the expert advice is there to assist with the fitting.

Looking at it from a slightly different angle

Before I went to my first bra-fitting appointment I thought that I knew my body, what fitted and what suited. I discovered that actually I did not know very much at all. The experts where able to show me so much and I was gaining knowledge about myself from them. I am still able to get to know myself better after listening to what they had to say.

This can be the case with parents with disabled children, and for the children themselves. Sometimes parents will believe that they know their child inside out, and will often list all the things the child cannot do. That’s where we step in and say that, if a child has never been shown how, then the child will not know how, conductors are there to do the showing how, to assist the learning! Sometimes children say that they cannot do something, or that it is far to difficult for them. With a bit of adjustment to the previously learnt movements, or a bit of advice as to where to place a hand or a foot, something new becomes possible.

Just in the same way, I thought that bras were uncomfortable and unneccessary because I had never been shown that it is possible to find a comfortable one. I had no idea that there were so many choices until I got the experts to advise me. Now I know that, when I face a problem that I can not solve alone, as with the dress for the wedding, that there are people, kind and very jolly ladies, out there in the stores to put me right, to give me confidence and bring me one step nearer to going it alone next time.

This is just how it can be with many of our clients

When I set up an “adventure playground course" for the group of littlies to tackle, to work out how to do certain things alone, sometimes a difficult task comes up . At this point I am summoned by the littlie in question and asked for suggestions where arms and legs, and hands and feet should be placed in order to make it possible. I am asked to give a feeling of security and confidence, so the littlie can take a step forwards in her development.

All no different really to me on my bra-fitting excursion and in my relationship with the shop-assistant, her tape measure and her twang on the straps at the ready. Ajusting, adapting, learning to make choices, feeling confident and safe, and at the same time moving onwards.


Andrew Sutton's mediocre masterpieces -

James Forliti's Pamolive Madge-

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