My visitors today

Sunday 31 July 2011

An Olympic sportsman

"Dream Dog" by Susie Mallett 2004


"Cheetahs" is the name given to the springs that amputee athletes strap on when they compete in sprint races.

With the London Olympic Games looming up in the not-so-distant future, with tickets for events being controversially distributed, buildings being prepared and athletes in training, there is no shortage of spectacular stories for the media to use as headlines, but for me this one comes out on top:

Oscar Pistorius from South Africa has managed to complete a run in a 400 metres event in a time that qualifies him, if selected by his country, to run in the London Olympics! 

But, even if selected by his country, will he be running in both the Olympics and Paralympics in London?

I read in the Telegraph that Natalie Du Toit, of South Africa, a swimmer and single amputee, and Natalia Partyka, table tennis player from Poland, born with one arm ending just below her elbow, competed at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing.


Oscar Pistorius – 

Friday 29 July 2011

"Warm hands"

A rose in my Dad's garden
It is not perfect but it is beautiful
by Susie Mallett

Here is something heart-warming and very interesting to read to round off the week:

Thursday 28 July 2011

Soul-searching, analysing, conductive living

"A red-boot"
A birthday present 2011

I was at the home of one of my stroke clients this morning and as part of our programme we discussed the following series of videos recently posted online:

They have been commented on ironically on Andrew Sutton’s Facebook, and also turned up in my Google Alert in-box.

I think that my client has a very good comment to make about them and I believe that her observation could quite possibly be right. She seemed to have hit the nail right on the head as far as I am concerned as she explained to me what it is about these films that she found so disturbing. It described my feelings about them too.

My client said that this lady appears to be listening to a tape-recording because there is no client-conductor contact: it is all so very impersonal and mechanical and not at all like her own experience of conductive work, either in the group or in an individual session. I must admit that I had been appalled when I first watched them by this lack of personal contact, with no communicating between personalities and souls, but I had at that point not considered the voice heard to be a tape-recording.

My client also said to me that if she does not get help to achieve a movement, or help to correct her position, she does not develop the wonderful feeling of success that she gets when she is given this assistance, and she cannot learn to improve the control over her body and limbs. She said that she often tries to practise on her own, though not with a programme like this. She explained that it is not possible to do this programme alone, like this lady is doing, without becoming despondent through a sense of not exactly failure as such, but not one of success either. She said that if she would be left to make movements uncorrected as in this video she would know that she was not doing it exactly how she wants to and be far from content. She much prefers her style of practising at home: hearing her own inner voice while attempting to use learnt movements in her daily activity. Living conductively in other words.

She said that she would not wish to have a tape-recording of the programme, as she believes this video to show. She would rather achieve her success when alone through cooking the dinner, ironing the clothes standing up and then folding them, and then find success in a series of exercises when a conductor is present to assist her.

I thank my client for her views on this subject and for opening up my eyes. Her thoughts reflect in a way what I have been thinking since I was Google-alerted to this series of films at the beginning of the week, and also clarify some of this that I had not been able to order in my mind. I too had questioned what it was all about, asking myself and then my client: “Why is there a film here on show to the public of a programme, claiming to be “metoda conductive-education”, but with no personal conductive input when it is so obviously needed?

After this interesting discussion with my client today I begin to wonder whether this is actually a control video made by the client for her own use to assess her own abilities over a period of time. It is always a shame when there is no explanation on photographs and videos posted on the Internet. This could lead to a huge misunderstanding about what conduction is all about.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Inclusion within a conductive upbringing

"Learning how to bear weights!"

A visit to school

What a difference a year makes

That year has made all the difference in Littlie’s class with her role changing from her being something out of the ordinary, someone special, to becoming just an ordinary member of the group.

I was so pleasantly surprised when I visited Littlie’s class today to see that she was one of the girls playing tag, one of the children who was called upon to demonstrate the behaviour of a car on a pedestrian crossing just like the other children were, and when she put up her hand to answer a question the other children were there ready to help pad out the correct answer with a few more words without a blink of an eye. All so discretely managed by her wonderful teacher and her integration-assistant.

My visits to this class this year have, all but one, been outside school time, meeting with the integration-assistant when lessons were over, to take a look together at seating arrangements, learning how to climb the stairs to the art room, checking the computer keyboard and its use, and other requests. All were things that took time that would not have been available to us during the lessons, so we did it after school; this meant that I had not seen the class dynamics in action for a long time.

Today was my last chance to see the class as a whole before the summer holiday starts. Next school year brings a longer day with lessons continuing until one o’clock instead of eleven thirty. There will be a new class teacher and a new classroom in the main building of the school. I will be there as soon as I can in September to meet the teacher and see what help we can give during this next transition. I am very pleased that the integration-assistant remains, for a third year running, the same lovely lady.

Nelly the elephant packs her trunk and says goodbye to class two

Hand-in-hand with all her classmates of course!

After seeing the children working so well together in Mathematics and German I was invited to join in for sport.

In sport Littlie has learnt lots of tricks and alternative “rules” that she can use so that she is able to join in. Her assistant has done a good job in making her feel really at ease and part of the lesson. The teacher played many games that Littlie could join in with and once again I noticed that she is not made a fuss of, the class just get on with it around her and with her being as helpful as they can but not over-fussy.

One of the best instances of this togetherness and probably, from the looks on the children’s faces, the most enjoyable for all was the elephant game. Littlie was the head-of-the-herd with her rolator and all the others packed their trunks, hand between legs to catch the trunk behind, and off they went to the circus, with the teacher giving directions for the route to be taken: turn left, stop, turn right, stop, turn round, etc.

Having such a severely physically-disabled child in the class is not easy for the teacher I know, but she has made it easy for everyone involved, including me.

One of the reasons for my visit yesterday was to thank the pupils in the class and teacher once more for being a key person in Littlie’s team, and for being such a major influence in making it such a success of the first two years in mainstream school, with the rest of the team working closely together.


Nelly the Elephant

Monday 25 July 2011

Utopia was built in an evening

"A bits-in-between for conductors evening"

I have a favourite shop situated only six minutes walking distance from my flat, just inside the city walls. It is an antique-book shop that I frequent whenever I walk back home from the city during opening hours.

I pop in mainly because I actually have my eye on a book that is written very much in the style of the Unfug by AP, published about fifty years earlier than his. I read a few pages on each visit and I expect, and hope, that it will be there forever so I can carry on reading it. It is very expensive, at nearly two-hundred Euros far more than I can afford unless I win more than a fiver on the lottery.

On my last visit I was after something else

There was a display of tiny books in the window and one of them was all about the soul. At fifty-cents I just had to have it. As I was paying I noticed on the counter a display of tiny matchbox size boxes with eye-catching bright colours, one almost like a Gaudi building. On the outside of this one it said “Utopia”.

I realized immediately this was a model to build and I asked the shop owner what was inside. She said no one had ever bothered to try that one out as it was a couple of stages more difficult than the other examples that were on offer.

I purchased it along with my fifty-cent book and offered to send photos of the finished product, which I have just done.

I have placed my seven-inches tall Utopian building beside the door so as I enter I am reminded what I special place I live in with my favourite shop and favourite read just a stone’s throw from the front door, a café on every corner, free live music in the streets and birds for lodgers on the balcony.

What more could I ask for?