Sunday, 24 July 2011

An orthofunctional black eye!

From the "Pictures-at-the-Summerfest" exhibition, July 2011


Is there such a thing?

There are still so many things that happen for the first time in my life while working with people with disability.

I have written about many of them here. They are the moments that make me “begeistert” by my work. Make me passionate about it, thrilled with what the clients achieve, excited about their future developments and so interested when they talk to me about their expectations, dreams and wishes for their futures.

Lots of firsts

This week I have had experience of a second child going home alone from the group. This child travelled by bike whereas the first one went by foot.

I was recently thrilled by a young athetoid girl when she told me that she thinks it is very near to the moment that she walks independently.

Years ago an athetoid young man marched with the villagers in a summer festival, and another client who I have known since she was four is finishing her second year at university. Both of these are twenty-one years old this year.

I was excited this week by how our three-to-five year olds have suddenly found their independence and continue to play alone and organise their games when we, the conductors, take a few steps back into the wings for five minutes and leave them to it. It is a delight to listen and watch who takes over, usually the three-year old.

I was so pleased when at last, after months of hard work from both sides, a ten year old boy made no attempt to escape, neither inside to his own world or outside the door to the big wide world! He was with me body and soul for two whole hours. He drew pictures that he rolled up and gave to me, he played games with me, he talked to me about his day and most importantly we pummelled life into a two-pound lump of bread-dough that having been thrown up in the air a few times was formed into something resembling a loaf to take home after baking.

When the bread was in the oven we drew pictures in the flour that remained on the table. Clapping flour-covered hands together to create dust-clouds was also quite good fun, causing us both to smile. Luckily I know that the cleaning lady will also smile because when she sees such a mess she knows that it means we have been up to our “tricks” again; having fun!

It was the first time that I have seen this boy smiling as he worked with me and the first time that he has not asked me over and over again to wait a minute while he goes off into his own world. We were having fun together. At last he realises that I like having fun too.

Another first: an orthofunctional black eye!

On Wednesday we all got quite a shock when the children arrived, the gorgeous, fairy-like, petite, extremely tough and very clever girl, who has been with us for most of her eight years, had the best black-eye that I have ever seen. She was so proud of it and so patient as she explained for the umpteenth time how she got it.

She had been running in the playground with her non-disabled friends while her school assistant was still in the classroom. She was in head down, full-speed-ahead mode when a post jumped out into her path. By the time we saw her two days after the event, the pain had lessened and the swelling was down, only the wonderful colours were to be seen. It was by now something that she could be proud of and joke about.

An orthofunctional black eye is another first for my list but I think not the last for this little girl! She has a go at everything and with her new bike she will be travelling even faster than ever.

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