|Somewhere between Norwich and the East Coast|
conductive upbringing, thas a rummun – as we say in Norfolk
I mean that it is a bit odd now and then.
Sometimes I wonder what I am doing when I work for
years with children through to their adulthood, teaching and guiding and
watching all that they achieve. With what they achieve they can often at last
join in with the games and sports that their non-disabled siblings and friends
take part in. Sometimes this is very dangerous, but what do we do? We have
encouraged them to be active, taught them how to ride a bike, motivated them to
ride a horse, encouraged them to go out in the big wide world and take part.
Do we suddenly say ‘Hey, stop, that it is too dangerous’?
No, of course we do not.
Yes, we make sure that safety precautions are taken
but we are not there all the time to keep an eye on things. Sometimes when our
clients are out there alone in the big wide world, where we have encouraged
them to be, something happens. Sometimes eyes get blackened – Jolly Prof. had
one of them last week and Little Princess piped up with ‘I had one of them too,
I ran into a post’. She did too, rushing around in the playground.
At other times heads get knocked, teeth get broken,
and arms and legs get covered in bruises. Rarely in my experience, however, has
a client worn a plaster cast because of an accident, only after an operation.
I got news of Laddo yesterday. Laddo has always been a
bit of a tearaway and even though he will be 23 years old next week he still is
likely to get up to all kinds of mischief.
This time he got out the big go-kart that he received
for a birthday at least ten years ago and drove at full speed down a hill. I
have no idea where he was as there are no hills in his garden so I assume that
he was out and about in the village where he lives. Needless to say he crashed.
Now this is nothing new, he is always crashing something. He sat in a car and
took off the hand brake once and crashed that!
This time it was different, this time that he crashed
he hurt himself. Over the years there have been broken teeth and stitches in
his forehead where his glasses have cut him during a fall, but there has not
been anything really bad since as a youngster he ran himself a bath as he had
seen his brother and sisters do and then got in to it, burning himself.
There will be no conductive upbringing at home this
summer for Laddo as he is off sick for several weeks with a plaster cast on his
arm and stitches in a head wound. There are no broken bones, just torn
ligaments but these often take longer to heal than a bone.
Laddo has athetoid cerebral palsy. He has learnt over
the years to use his hands well, well enough to drive a go-kart! His left hand
cooperates and does what he wants it to do more willingly than his right hand
and, thank goodness, it is his right hand that is in plaster, but even so he
cannot do much at all independently without his right hand to help him, except
eat and drink! Fortunately he learnt at an early age to climb the stairs to his
second-floor home without holding on. At that time he could not easily grasp
anything and there was nothing there anyway to hold on to, so he learnt to do
When I receive news like this of Laddo’s plaster cast
and just a superficial bump on the head, I wonder about my work and I think
what a rummun this conductive
I would not change it for the world and it was lovely
to exchange emails with Laddo’s Mum yesterday and know that she thinks the
same. It was just another crazy action from Laddo, when his learnt skills and
increasing abilities lead to dangerous, inclusive activity with the occasional accident
that the family just takes it in its stride.
Mum described the accident, the operation and the
plaster cast to me, and then she wrote –
‚Es war wieder eine typische Steffen Aktion‘.
It was once again a typical Steffen event.
remember when Little Princess had learnt enough to go home alone with her
rolator or on her bike. Oh what a worry that was, but I have long forgotten
that worry and the care that we took to keep her safe – the wave at the door,
the peering out of the window, a phone call to Mum that she was on her way, and
then waiting till she was in Mum’s sight!
bike has tipped over a couple of times she has had her fair share of bruises
from ice hockey and football games. There have been no accidents on the roads
or on the paths, only when she has been racing around in the park with her
brother. She has called and called for help when she got stuck in the drain
cover and eventually her brother came looking for her. She has had a couple of
black eyes, a stitched tongue and that’s about all. She has probably had far
less injuries than I had by the time that I was ten-years old.
The joy of life
that is what we are teaching these children to achieve, their independence. To
be able at a certain point in their development to go out and about in the
world alone, just like the other children in their schools.
remember when Laddo first went home on the bus alone, with me following two
hours later on the next one. I remember the first time that Jolly Prof went to
the baker’s to get the Sunday-breakfast rolls and how soon after he found he
was able to travel to school on his bike alone.
remember many occasions when I have realised that children and adults have
learnt enough to go out in the world on their own. I do not often think about
the occasions when Jolly Prof’s bike tipped up, when Laddo slipped over on the
ice, or when Little Princess’s rolator got stuck in a drain grate. They all
managed and got up and carried on another day. They are all participating in
lives to the full, now and then with a plaster cast, a black eye a few stitches
and bruises but on the whole getting through unscathed. I do not think about
the accidents, I think of the joy that they have taking part in life.