Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Putting in the hours


I have no idea how many hours went into producung this wedding present. Not only in the doing but also in the learning how to do!

Encouragement and a little bit of pedagogy too! Me and my niece in the summer of 1992


It is not magic

How many times have I, and many other conductors, explained to our clients that what we do is not magic but hours and hours of hard work?

This is one of the things that I discuss with my stroke group almost every time that we meet for a block of sessions. When we talk about home-work it is the continuous hard work that is involved that always becomes an important point of discussion and it is emphasized by everyone, conductors and clients alike.

Long-term clients are really good at encouraging any beginners in the group; they have a lot of experience to share and knowledge too. They explain how and why they continue the hard work at home. They tell us that they do not expect miracles when working within the group but that their own hard work, in the many hours of practical living, will bring them positive results.

They all tell each other when they leave, at the end of three weeks of sessions, to just keep doing things as well as each of them can, enjoying their lives. They encourage each other to keep positive and, most of all, active. They tell each other to keep at it!

Hard work together with a conductor, in a group or individually and lots more hard work alone, with partners, family, teachers, or carers, that’s what it is all about.

It is not only the adults who discuss this. My group of nine-to-thirteen-year-olds with my encouragement are beginning to talk about putting in the hours too.

Learning that the hard-work is in their own hands

One of the older girls told me on Friday that she is sure that when she is eighteen she will not need to come to a conductive group anymore. I was thrilled that she was even contemplating coming for the next five years and I assured her that when she is eighteen, and still needs our help, she will be able to join an adult’s groups, of which we now have three in the evenings, offering cooking, crafty activities and games as part of the session. 

I also discussed with this young girl the possibility that if she is successful doing something somewhere else when she is an adult then we can help her there too if she so wishes.

Another child who is ten, but going on forty, said that he knows that he still learns a lot from conductive groups especially in the after school group. He likes being able to discuss his daily life with us and learning things that help him when he is at school or at play. He is especially happy that we practice skill with him that really help him to find his feet, and keep on them, in the football club that he has recently joined.

I have realised again just this week the importance of continuing with our 'Everything that Mum and Dad should know' letters. The teenagers and older children need this just as much as their parents. The children add things to the lists that I may never have included and are also beginning to draw on the lists too, producing some amazing 'Petö in action' pictures!

Lots of useful information

I have often referred here to a blog that I follow, it is written by a stroke victim. It is called — deans’ stroke musings.

This site is full of information about and around stroke. There are articles about research, therapies, diets, experiences and much more. It is one of the best source of information that I have found on the subject. The man who writes it must spend hours compiling it and I am very grateful to him for doing this.

Learning and practising skills

In his latest posting Dean refers to something that he says was meant as tongue-in-cheek but he picked it up as being relevant to after stroke rehabilitation. I agree with him.
The posting is called – ‘Master any Skill in 10,000 Hours?’

Dean, of deans’ stroke musings says about what people have written about talent–

They essentially say that innate talent doesn't exist, it is all just focused practice, just like our massed practice therapy’

He adds—

‘Just think of how many different tasks we need to practise. And we get maybe 3 months of therapy.’

This is the video-link that he is referring to –


deans’ stroke musings –


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