by Susie Mallett, July 2010
A friend of mine has so rightly pointed out that if someone who does not know anything about muscular dystrophy reads this posting, without having read the first one that I wrote, it could lead to some misunderstanding.
In my first posting on the subject I wrote about the necessity of teaching clients with muscular dystrophy how to judge their strengths and capacities in the same way as we do this with clients with multiple sclerosis.
Below is a snippet of what I wrote there:
"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".
When the clients are very young then it is the role of the conductor to decide on the length of time that children can stay with one activity, before having a break and doing something more restful. This is especially important with children with muscular dystrophy.
It is not always OK for a child with muscular dystrophy to go racing around on a bike with his mate on the back, as the child in the story I told on Sunday was doing.
How the children play and how they divide up periods of play is specific to their needs and abilites and a careful eye is keep on the children's stamina levels.
I hope tat this makes things a bit clearer.
I am still hoping to hear from any of those conductors who worked with muscular dystrophy children at the Petö Institute.
Previous postings on muscular dystrophy -