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Sunday 22 August 2010

I was out on the balcony thinking...

"A Snail" by Susie Mallett,
August 2010

..... and as I had my mini-netbook out there with me I decided that I should write down some of my thoughts.

At first I was thinking about something I had read on Andrew Suttons blog. More precisely in the comments from Norman Perrin:

Therapy! Therapy! Therapy!
Why, oh why, oh why are so many people convinced that "therapy" has the answers?

Could it be that they asking the wrong questions?

Rubbish in, rubbish out, as the (politer) computer geeks say.

The right questions? Start with: upbringing, parenting, education, schooling, curriculum, pedagogy, professional training ....

and from Rony Schenker:

I believe that for parents "therapy" means 'recovery", and the word in its deepest meaning meets their wish for their child healing or recovery. I also believe ,that meeting the medical professionals at the very beginning stage of their journey as parents of a child with cp, is in a way, like the "imprinting" described by Konrad Lorenz . It happens in a very critical stage and lasts for long (if not for ever). Thirdly, I believe that it is also a product of the higher status that people ascribe to the medical professions in comparison to education. Not surprisingly, many parents approach CE only after being "disappointed" from the "therapies" that did not meet their dream of "fixing" the child, or when they are at a stage that they do not perceive cp as a disease anymore , but as a condition, a state.

Then I thought this:

Babies are born in hospitals so the first people they and their parents meet are from the medical, and then later the therapeutic professions. As Rony said, the medical profession are held in very high esteem, and at this early stage they are the only people that parents and their babies, and adult who suddenly find themselves with a motor disorder have contact with. They are the first on the scene with the first expert advice.

This is why it is so important that along with our struggle to get conductive education recognised as an alternative to other types of kindergarten and schooling, and also as a part of the adult lives of our clients, that we continue working towards conductive education becoming part of the provision in the premature baby units and special care units of clinics for people with motor disorders. This has been the way in Hungary for a long time. I experienced there how the mothers of tiny premature babies work hard educating their babies along side conductors from day one, how parents return to outpatients and proudly show the conductors the progress that their growing babies are making. Unfortunately I have not been lucky enough to witness the work in the Hungarian clinics with new stroke clients, but I know that they will also be full of hope for an active future.

Having conductors right there working alongside the medical profession educating babies and parents, and adult clients right from the beginning of the life with a motor disorder will prevent the imprinting, as you describe, from occurring on the medical side. Having conductors there at this very critical stage can prevent many disappointments later and create a balance in the lives of those people with motor disorders. A balance between medical treatment and interventions, and education for living.

Conductors can prevent the loss of the hope that these people have had up until this point in their lives.

Conductors can help the clients keep their hope and ambitions for their futures alive. Conductors can show them that life is to be lived to the full and that a condcutive upbringing can steer these people, the babies, the parents, the adult clients and the carers, towards active lives. Towards a balanced life, one where body and soul are looked at and cared for together as part of their way forward, and all happening right from the onset.

We have all heard parents say when learning about conductive education for the first time that it has given back their hope.

I have heard the same from many adult clients too. Many adults with multiple sclerosis tell me that the initial advice from the medical profession was, in so many words, to become less active, rest as much as possible, one even told me they were advised to spend their days sitting in a comfortable chair reading. Stroke clients tell me regularly that they have been told that after three years there is no hope anymore of learning new skills. Even the health insurances stop paying for many therapies at this stage too. Put in a nutshell they were all told this is the end of your active life.

There are, of course, exceptions. Not all my adult clients have been told the same story but the majority say the same as the many parents, that conductive education has restored their hope that there is live despite a motor disorder and many disabilities can be prevented before they even occur.

We must work towards this not being hope restored but hope retained. No rebuilding required because it was never taken away! We have a lot of work before us.


Andrew Sutton

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