Monday, 9 December 2013

Helping hands



 
Christmas Rose
Tips for everyday life

We are in the middle of a three-week-long stroke course. It is my favourite work at the moment and my favourite time is when we conductors take a step back and encourage the clients to start to talk to each.

During these talks the clients give each other advice and share tips and information that will help fellow group-members to live their conductive, rehabilitative lifestyle.

Sometimes we conductors take a step forward again and pass on tips that we have come across.

One that I passed on last week was a trick for separating egg yolks from the white with one hand. With Christmas biscuit-baking in full flow all over Germany this is a useful skill to learn, and not only for the stroke clients who enjoy baking. Évi, who is also a trained cook, loved it and passed it on to the schoolchildren and adults in the cookery group, who were all really impressed. 

Tip Number I

Separating an egg

All you need is a small plastic bottle.

Break the egg into a small bowl.

Squeeze the bottle, hold the opening close over the yolk, but not pressing on it so as not to break the membrane, and then release the bottle.

As the bottle fills with air the egg yolk pops into the bottle.

Squeeze the yolk out of the bottle into a separate bowl.

Tip Number II

Cutting nails

I thought about this tip as I was reading the website dean’s stroke musings on 13th November –


In this posting the writer is wondering about how to cut the fingernails on his effected hand when his fingers usually curl up just as the cutting is about to take place. I wondered whether it would help to do this with a soft ball in the effected hand.

We will try this out tomorrow and I will post photographs later.

Has anyone out there got any other ideas on nail cutting, or have you any other useful tips for our clients?


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Winter gets more wintery overnight



Same time, same place, just one day later with snow!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Winter is here!




It was still dark when I left the house but there was a sign of light in the sky. After five minutes on the tram there was already sun shining on the glass of the office blocks at the tram terminal. As I travelled out of town, past the airport and the market gardens the sun rose and cast long shadows of the trees lining the highway. There was just no opportunity from the bus to capture the wonderful effect that the light was having on the landscape and the still autumnal trees, but as I walked through the village from the bus I caught it on the village pond.

Walking to work from the bus stop at 08.10 this morning.Minus 3 and ice on the pond 


Sunshine at 8 am was a clear sign that when I left work at midday to let in the man to fix my heating I would have clear blue skies to accompany me home.

 

How right I was but I had not anticipated these wonderful, almost Norfolk-loike, skies. All that was missing were the vapour trails or a Battle of Britain formation of planes.
                                                                          
When walking back to the bus stop at midday it had not got much warmer!



Saturday, 9 November 2013

WCCE8 2013 – Impression VI


 
My posters - 2010  and 2013, and a wall full of other people's paintings
Poster 2013
Posters

Oh, how I wish that I had had the forethought to photograph all 78 of the posters on display at the World Congress. There were so many interesting stories to read and not enough time to do so in depth. Certainly not enough time for me to remember exactly what the posters looked like despite having the abstracts in front of me now. If anyone wants to send me a picture of their poster I would be really grateful and if you wish I will publish it here on my blog.

Here is my poster –


 




Art resets dislocation of development





However it seemed to us as we were growing up, the rich learning experiences of our childhoods did not just happen ‘naturally’. It takes adult society to frame and blend them, add meaning, and transform us into people with love and lust for life.

For me there were things like smelling flowers, finding a four-leaf clover, helping Dad to paper the wall – and stepping into a bucket of paste – bringing Grandma wild flowers and in exchange walking home with blancmange in beautiful red custard-cups, and the unearthing of an ant’s nest — to be bombarded by swallows eating them for their evening meal. For most of us, such things ‘just happen’ as life goes on – part of growing up and living.

Conductive upbringing, through conductive upbringers, makes sure that these things ‘happen’ for children and adults with disability too. It ensures the essential learning that creates that lust for life; it creates experiences that make sense of life and stories that can be told about it. All of this helps to motivate them, like the rest of us, to go forth and make the most of our lives.


I am an art teacher and art therapist as well as a conductor, and it goes without question that my conductive work cannot be free from creative influences. As an art therapist I consider the production of art first and foremost as a means of communication. Images are produced through which conversations may take place, questions asked and problems solved. Wearing my conductor’s hat the problem-solving continues: art retains it role of mediator for communication but develops an even more important presence in the context of my conductive practice and, as well as a means of communication, it becomes a way of developing many other skills. For twenty years I have used artistic projects in my conductive work, in which time I have developed conductive activities in numerous creative situations – indoors and out; sitting, standing, walking and lying; on walls, canvas and paper, using paint, papier-mâché, clay, fabrics, pencils, brushes, dusters, mops, fingers, hands and feet.




Activities involving imagination, creativity and emotion are a productive and useful means to create the upward learning spiral of success and satisfaction, experience of which leads to development of the personality as a whole. For me, as artist and art therapist, art and many other forms of creative activity are vital means of achieving this cycle as an integral part of my conductive practice. Conductors need to bring their own joys into their work to unlock clients’ developmental gridlock, to ‘reset the dislocation of development’ [1].Other conductors bring their own personal contributions to their practice, IT, music, story-telling, sport, cooking etc., the list is endless because it is the list of human enthusiasms, and it is essential that conductors indentify their own special enthusiasm as an essential part of their pedagogy.




[1].   L. S. Vygotskii  (1993) Collected Works, vol. 2, NY, Plenum