My visitors today

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Clothes for people with disability… …and some new reading material too

Something to read on a Monday morning

Something nice turned up in my in-tray last night. Luckily I read it there and then as most of my day today has been spent seeing the world as if through the windows of a bus dirtied by a spray of brown slushy snow!

Yes, we do get buses like that here in Germany but not on too many occasions this year because the weather has been too cold or not snowy enough!

At eight-fifteen this morning I was at the Augenartz, eye doctor, getting the small blisters of detached retina checked for deterioration. Thankfully there was none, only the strength of the reading bit in my vario-focals needs increasing.

A combination of eye-drops and the gunge that was put directly on my eye made seeing anything rather difficult after the two hour stint at the doctor’s. Even the hundred yard walk home was pretty hair-raising.

Luckily I had read the article in my in-tray before the brown-slushy-window symptoms occurred. It is not a nice feeling not being able to read properly all day. Of course I spent quite some time counting my blessings, knowing that the window would soon clear and that I could afford to invest in a new pair of glasses. Knowing that this would make drawing, following a road map, and reading a train time-table easier again, made the symptoms a lot less frustrating and scary.

I had written a few notes between the eye-drops and tests in preparation for writing a posting but it was several hours later before I could read my own notes! This evening when I got home from work, after ordering the new glasses at a shop that is also just a hundred yards away from home, I promptly fell asleep.

 I am determined however to get something recorded about today before I collapse into bed.
The first thing that I shall do is to remind myself that it is better to make these doctors’ appointments after work and not first thing in the morning. The effects can then be slept off at night. It is a very, very tiring ordeal not being able to see properly all day and trying to do everything just the same. I shall certainly have something to share with the stroke client in my group tomorrow who has suffered from double vision since he suffered a stroke eight years ago.

Days like today are certainly sent so that I can continue on my path through life learning as I go!

Clothes show, a lot

It was only this weekend as I was reading the latest information bulletin from the association that I do a lot of work for, that I was thinking about the clothes that people with disability wear. There was a photograph in the brochure of a group of wheelchair-users on holiday in Italy. They did not look like there were very well dressed. I do not mean that they did not have good clothes on. It was just that the clothes did not fit while sitting in a wheelchair. Their image gave the impression of discomfort, not a relaxed holiday feeling.

Last Tuesday two clients turned up in my evening workers ‘group who were both wearing winter trousers bought from a local company that supplies clothes for wheelchair-users. They both looked smart and comfortable. There were no cold, bare backs and crumples of material that make sitting uncomfortable. The trousers fitted them. Not only are these trousers cut higher at the back they also have strategically placed darts to prevent all the bagginess at the front, and the legs have extra length to cover the shoes when sitting.

These two clients are lucky that they have families who help them financially so they can afford the luxury of these relatively expensive clothes. The jackets from the same company are also very well cut.


Now take a look at the gorgeous clothes in these articles that I read last night:

I do not think that my clients will have the money to spend on dresses like these, or even many occasions to wear them but reading about this and seeing the lovely clothes reminded me that a friend and I have been making plans for a long time to offer our time on a Saturday afternoon to encourage our wheelchair-using clients to make the most of their clothes at only a little extra expense. We would like to have some fun hours with them learning together how to add a pretty accessory here, to make a few snips and changes there, and show them how to recycle outfits by adding a bit of flare.

And to show what a difference it makes to the appearance when there is no bare flesh when working out, when trousers reach to the tops of shoes and hang properly, and when jackets are shortened to waste length.

I have had a lot of practice at dress-making for a wheelchair-user. It is time to start sharing the experience with others!

This is definitely time to begin this next project now that the most recent one is completed:

My most recent project is something to read at your leisure

We have collected the books!

I shall give details of how to order the books below, but first I have to report today’s most important event, the little launch party for our new book.

I name this ship!

It was not quite a naming ceremony but I can now quite understand why such things are called a “book launch”.

I would love to organize something a bit bigger for Waltraud, maybe with the local press present, and I will be approaching our media manager at work soon, but today’s little gathering was enough excitement for the beginning.


The author and her husband were ready and waiting for me at our designer’s office this afternoon.

Both designers were waiting at the door to welcome us, and I was so glad to see that my sort-of-step-son, who is also part of the media company that has been helping us, was also there to join the party.

There was no champagne but there were flowers and chocolates for our wonderful graphic designers. They have spent so much time on this publication and have given much of it for free. They were so impressed by Waltraud’s energy and determination that they just wanted to help her, and help her they have.

They spent almost an hour this afternoon showing her the huge double computer screens on which they had worked, moving ideas to and fro. They took time to explain how they had worked on the layout of the double pages and on cutting the photographs.

Waltraud uses a computer at home and was quite able to follow their clear explanations and as her confidence grew she was able to ask questions.

Before we left Waltraud took out a pen and signed half a dozen copies of her book to leave for the designers Uli and Tine. Waltraud looked as though she had been book-signing for years!

As I have written in the book, it has been her party, and it was a pleasure to take a step back and observe how yet again my client was able to take yet another stride forwards life with her husband at her side. I realised again today how important this project has been for Waltraud’s husband too and today he really enjoyed the attention and the excitement of the moment.

Get your copy NOW

You can read about their joint journey on their path to life, in German and in English, in:



Er kam wie ein Blitz aus heiterem Himmel”

It came like a bolt out of the blue”



Waltraud Heußinger

Bearbeitet and vorgestellt von/ edited and introduced by
Susie Mallett

Werner Heußinger

I will be distributing this book at the Annual National German congress on 8-9 March but it is available from me from today at:

I have offered to be the distributer of the book so, you can order as many copies as you wish from me. They will cost ten Euros a piece, plus packaging and postage. So write and tell me how many you need and where you are and I will tell you how much to pay.

I will get some copies over to the UK as soon as I can, to make distribution there cheaper and quicker. Gill Maguire will be doing the distributing for us there. Order from me and I will pass the mailing info on to Gill.

Thank you to Gill! She is yet another link in the chain that has worked together to make Waltraud’s dream of writing a book come true.

I have been keeping a list and there are about twenty names on it now.

Thursday 23 February 2012

Hot off the press…

"Time to celebrate!"

… but not in our hands yet, so still no picture.

I cannot wait, but wait I must.

I have just heard from our designer that she has Waltraud's book in her office and it is all that I can do to stop myself getting on the next tram over there to take a look!

15.00 hours on Monday 27th February is the moment when we will see the fruits of our labours in real life. Until now we have only seen the design on the computer screen but that is not quite the same as having something solid in our hands.

Uli, our designer, says it looks really good with its glossy cover and that we should come in a car and not by train to collect two very heavy boxes!

We will, of course, go by car. Waltraud’s husband will drive us. We will be there with cameras slung around our necks to record the moment and arms full of flowers as a Thank You gift.

We have the book ready exactly two weeks before we really need it!

We planned to have it ready to present at the  annual German Conductive Education conference that takes place on the 8-9 March, 2012, this year in Rosenheim.

More about the conference later, it is time now for Waltraud Heußinger’s book, “It came like a bolt from the blue”, to take centre stage.

We are hoping that it will sell like hot cakes so put your orders in now, not to be disappointed . For just ten Euros, plus p&p, a copy can be on its way to you soon!

Little Henri III

Chocolate hearts by Susie Mallett

Good news from Henri’s family

I have been informed that the heart operation that was carried out today was very successful. Henri is wake and he has the nursing staff and his family running around for him already!

How nice it is to hear news of his progress without imposing on the family at this time.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Life is busy

Jolly Professor again, 
inventing new and more intricate games to test his skills


Yesterday evening I put the finishing touches to a posting that I then published on my other site, the conductive upbringing blog:

I posted it over there as I was going to post something here too about the German carnival atmosphere, both locally and throughout the entire country. I wanted to describe the doughnut-eating Bavarians and the marathon lunchtime bake by the only pancake-eating Brit in Boxdorf.  

I was going to write about being accosted by a clown at the tram-stop who gave me a doughnut, a voucher for the chemist shop he was advertising and a lei in Bavarian colours that, I am proud to say, I wore all the way to work.

Instead of writing about carnival I wrote the conductive blog that I posted over on my other blog and I also prepared a paper to post elsewhere.

Then I ran out of time

I did quite well really with what I did achieve, considering that I returned home from my work at eight o’clock in the evening. I decided that the festive blog can be written at the same time next year when carnival, doughnuts and Pancake Day come round again, followed as usual by a time of fasting.

Fasching really does not seem topical anymore!

As Lent began today I had to fight the traditionalists amongst the German staff to be allowed to keep the carnival streamers up in the conductive group for the duration of the half-term holiday. The children had requested a party atmosphere.

Last-minute changes

Political subjects are always used as themes for decorating the carnival floats, from those at the smallest village processions to the huge festivities in Mainz, Cologne and Dusseldorf, the heart of carnival fever in Rhineland.

Over the last couple of days I read in media from all around the world that last-minute creations were being made in order to incorporate the resignation of Germany’s President, Mr Wulff, in the anonymous, masked, political statements of Rose Monday and Shrove Tuesday. Some of them can be read about here:

A repeat performance

Just like it always was in my Mum’s kitchen, so it was in Boxdorf today. Pancakes were on the menu for a second day running, at special request from the Magyars!! Now that is praise indeed.

A never-ending saga

I have done with pancake-baking for the year now, but I do not think that the media is finished with the story about Germany’s already resigned and the yet-to-be-appointed Presidents. That long story gis sure to go on  until 18 March but without all the fun of carnival to accompany it;

You never know, perhaps it will still be topical enough to get a mention in next year’s carnival creations!

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Little Henri II

"Butterfly", February 2012 by Barbaros, aged 6,

Just over a year ago I discovered Little Henri.

I wrote about him here:

and you can read more about him here:

Little Henri, who has Down’s syndrome, is in hospital at the moment. He has been undergoing tests today and on Thursday a big heart operation will be performed.

Despite the anxiety this is causing his family, Mum still found time to tell the readers of his blog the latest news by email. I was very touched this evening to find her correspondence and I wish them all well.

I was looking at his blog just last night and it is so hard to imagine from reading his recent news that it was not so long ago that this gorgeous little boy was in a conductive group learning how to walk, eat and many other things.

Conductive upbringing certainly is for all! 

Barbaros the "Butterfly, 2012" artist, has muscular dystrophy

Monday 20 February 2012

Lets see more of these - peripatetic conductors

 "My sister" by KD, 2006

Parents raising money, not only for their child’s conductive upbringing, but for a peripatetic conductor to work with several children:

What a good idea.

Many centres have out-posts where conductors work once a week or offer blocks of several weeks,  but I have not seen this very often when parents decide to raise money to fund an out-post  rather than fund raise for their own child's use.