My visitors today

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Cycling for people who need adapted bikes

That's me in my lovely new cycling jacket in the gorgeous autumn sunshine

I was recently talking to parents of a now adult child discussing means of enjoying cycling together as a family instead of always walking or jogging alongside their daughter’s very large, adapted three-wheeler bike. 

Here are some of things that I have since discovered

This was my first, and perhaps best, find –

It is such a simple and practical idea. No extra bicycle is needed, although I think this kit comes with the bike. Unfortunately it is only available in Spain.

Here is another version –

That second one is not quite as versatile as the first but still a nice tandem bike.

Here is something completely different for people who need just a little bit of help to keep on the right track –

and something else for groups who wish to keep close together –

There is a lot more available for little people and bigger people –

And if I had any grandchildren this is the one I would buy –

Happy cycling!

Monday 5 October 2015

Life is a conductive spiral

Learning to do some of the nice things in life


On the way home from work in September

As we see from the skies this last week, autumn has arrived and that means that school is back in action. A few weeks have passed by and we are now being asked to give advice in the old schools and get to know teachers and assistants in the new.

Working as closely as we do with schools and our children’s classroom assistants has so many advantages. Whether we get a text message to say that there has been a problem in the playground – ‘Please discuss it this afternoon!’; a note to say that the day was great, top marks achieved in mathematics; impromptu meetings with assistant, parents and conductors, we in the conductive group for school children welcome it all. We plan our afternoon sessions around the children’s needs so we very much depend on this information coming in regularly.

Recently we were able to discuss with the parents of one child the possibility of moving her domestic science lessons from afternoon school to the conductive afternoon group, the school assistant liaising with the school. The school agree that we have better facilities and equipment to suit the child and a most important a qualified chef in our midst.

As the children get older school days get longer and therefore we need to find new solutions and this was such a case.

Domestic science in the group will benefit us all. Cooking and baking will take a turn in a different direction for all the children, as we saw when as we all helped the school girl in question make cheese scones for her school picnic. We learnt about raising agents, how yeast likes to be warm and cosy for a while before it gets really hot in the oven and stops working. This was easy for the children to imagine after the heat of the past summer when they didn’t feel much like working either.

When a child has extreme over movements, or when a child has little strength in their fingers, or when Mum doesn’t like cooking very much, or the kitchen is too small for a wheelchair to fit in, some children do not get the chance to help preparing family meals or bake something at home to take on a picnic. 

Baking for a school trip, cooking for friends, making cheese biscuits for Grandma and of course helping to clear up afterwards

Through liaising with schools, with parents and assistants we can provide, during the conductive sessions, the opportunities for children to learn how to do some of those nice things in life, like helping yeast feel cosy by wrapping its bowl up in a tea towel and putting it near the radiator or on top of the warming oven.

A successful first session making a yeast dough
Spontaneity, quick decisions, team work

Today I received a text from another school assistant and in seconds we had a meeting arranged for next week. I will be observing and co-assisting in lessons for the morning and this will be followed by a meeting that will include me, parents, class assistant and classroom assistant co-ordinator, and both class and head teachers.

It is time once again to plan for the future for a child with muscular dystrophy. Access to classrooms needs to be discussed, as does whether sport lessons are still possible and whether alternatives can be found. Differentiation of school work and time given for tests will also be on the agenda.

Before we visit schools we always wait until the term has been going for a few weeks giving the children time to settle down; time for them to get to know new teachers, new environments or new assistants and to get into their routine of school life. We hear about this school life from the children themselves in the afternoons so we can begin to get a feel of how the children are settling in before we go to observe for ourselves.

The waiting is over
The school visits have begun, and I for one really enjoy this work as I can see a conductive lifestyle really coming  to shape when so many of the people from a child’s life come together to plan the next steps in the spiral onwards and upwards.

Two twelve-year-olds enjoy a pre-baking warm-up, one is doing her pre-baking standing too! As in the baking many hands make light work its the same in the conductive grop, much can be achieved while preparing for and during one motivating activity.

Monday 13 July 2015

Customised aids

Sometimes I wonder why some things were not thought of before –

There are already bright coloured plasters for broken arms, all sorts of pictures for decorating wheels on wheelchairs and even splints for feet can be produced in almost any design that children wish for. Now hearing aids can be customised too, that is they can be customised as soon as restocking has taken place. I am really not surprised that these lovely designs have sold out as it is a brilliant idea, I think even my Dad would like to customise his hearing aids especially if there were trains.

Saturday 20 June 2015

Rain, rain, please go away tomorrow, just long enough for us to celebrate our 20 years of CE, Nürnberg

Our Little Princess, preparing for rain or shine!

Early this morning I wrote a letter to Andrew Sutton. I wrote in response to his recent posting about keeping cool in conductive centres...

‘Feeling the heat’

Andrew just replied, thanking me for my response and he wrote that his first response was to publish my letter on his own blog, but then he thought twice and decided to ask me to publish it on mine. So here I am!

(All you busy CE bloggers will recognise Andrew’s lovely method of encouraging us to get something posted after a bit of a lull on our blogs.)

Here is what I wrote –

On 20 Jun 2015 07:43, Susie Mallett wrote –

‘Dear Andrew

As well as being inventive with our games with ice when the temperature rises we are also experts on do-it-yourself air conditioning, not forgetting that our building is purpose-built for people with disability it is relatively easy to keep it cool.

When the temperature hits the mid-thirties we are used to closing the shutters over-night, opening the doors and windows early in the morning to let cool air in and then closing the shutters again to keep out the sun.

It also helps that our buildings are positioned so that the blazing midday sun cannot shine directly in the windows during the summer months but the low, cooler winter sun can brighten our sometimes grey days. 

Our children are also on the ball when it comes to keeping cool 

When the heat gets too much for the children and young adults wearing their hot and sticky, plastic-splints and thick, orthopedic shoes they often ask us for a bucket of cooling water to put their feet in. 

On very hot days often a child will phone to ask us to please go out to the garage where the paddling pool is stored and prepare it for the afternoon sesssion.

Stop the rain-dance, please!

Unfortunately we have none of these problems with heat at the moment; in fact it is quite the opposite.

As often happens around the summer equinox, and also on Mid-Summer Day, the weather turns cold and rainy. It looks like we will have to put the bad-weather-plan into action tomorrow when we celebrate our twentieth conductive anniversary – the weather forecast tells us that it will probably be held in a downpour.

Instead of all six of our conductive centres coming together for a rare gathering and filling the tree lined courtyard with activities that represent our work and with discussion amongst ourselves and with our invited guests, (who are coming from as far away as Budapest), it looks like we will be painting, drawing, singing and cooking in separate far-flung corners of the cellar in the buildings belonging to our association's sheltered housing.

I am not the only one wishing for a sudden change in the weather. 

All we wish for is just enough blue sky to make a sailor a pair of trousers. This would be much appreciated by all in the conductive groups who have been so busy all week preparing for this occasion. 

From Susie Mallett CE Nurnberg for 22 years !’


‘Feeling the heat’

(2015) Des nouvelles, Association CEC du Gard, 18 June –

Mallett, S. (2015) Beating the summer heat, conductively, Conductor, 14 June –