Susie Mallett

Parent blog

Monday 15 November 2010

St Martin on the horse!

Another dream come true

Laddo's twin brother just send me these wonderful photographs.

I just had to share them with you before I go off in search of a hankerchief to dry my eyes.

Sunday 7 November 2010

The dreams of life come true

Pictures waiting for an exhibition" by Laddo, 2007

Laddo ruft mich immer wieder an

Laddo always rings me when something important happens in his life. He has been trying to contact me since Wednesday, but I have been home too late each evening to return his calls. Luckily he is persistent and today he caught me near the phone!

Life has its ups and downs for Laddo just as it does for us all. His hurdles are often very high meaning he needs a lot of help to get over them. Sometimes his life takes a turn in the slow lane so he can enjoy a settled time.

He has been settling down at work since I saw him in August, life has been a bit easier for him than it was in the last work-group he was in.

He now happily makes his way to-and-fro between home and work, and in the evening he returns to find his family still busy at the family business.

The story unfurls

This is what he has desperately been wanting to tell me for days:

One evening last week Laddo returned from work to be sent immediately by his mother to search for his father who had important news for him.

A bit of background before the news

When I was working with Laddo in the summer we stopped for a rest on the village-school wall after an exhausted walk. One of the things we talked about was how he has always been fascinated by the festival celebrating Saint Martin, a festival that takes place on November 11th each year.

There is always a lantern procession through the village preceded by "Saint Martin" riding on his horse and of course the music makers. Laddo loves horses and the story of St Martin but most of all he loves the brass-band music that accompanies all the village festivities.

As the story of St Martin goes, when the procession returns to the centre of the village, each year there is always a beggar leaning against the school wall, exactly in the spot where we were sitting in the summer. The beggar, shivering in the cold night air, is always given by St Martin half of his cloak , which St Martin divides down the middle with a sweep of his sword.

Laddo learnt all the “St Martin songs” and was always the first to be ready for the procession through the village. He was always the one up the front to see the horse and as he got older and realised that it was a performance, re-enacted by players from the village, his dream began of one day being fit enough to play the role of Saint Martin himself.

I said to him today: “ We must always have our dreams so they have a chance of coming true!”

Laddo’s dream started to come true when he went off to find his father last week and listened to the news he had for him.

A lady had been to see Dad and told him that the elderly man, who has played Saint Martin since Laddo was a very tiny laddo, had hurt his foot and could not ride the horse.

Laddo can ride, he has rosettes to prove it. He has been riding since he was four or five-years old. At one time he even had a pony of his own that lived with his Granddad’s cows.

Yes you have guessed. The lady who came to see Dad wanted Laddo to play St Martin.

I imagined that Laddo had let out a screech of glee but he says otherwise, he said he nearly cried.

I think I would have done so too if I had been there. I cannot imagine how Laddo must be feeling now.

He has worked so hard and struggled against all odds to achieve his goals. He is well known in his village as an artist, in many of the homes his paintings are hanging. Now he will be well known as Saint Martin too.

He told me that he must behave like the grown up that he is, because there will be many young children watching him with the same awe that he always held St. Martin in.

He is so proud. He has a little fear that the horse will bolt through the main street with him in the saddle, but Dad will be there beside him and I expect twin brother will not be too far away. Mum will certainly be there with the camera, so watch this spot later for images of the event.

What a coincidence that we talked about the dream only a few months ago and how now it is becoming reality.

Not really a coincidence

Laddo had told his mother about his wishes and dreams. Each person in the village had seen over the years how fascinated Laddo is with the whole performance of St. Martin. What a wonderful community he lives in. The villagers who organise the “show”, at the very first opportunity that arises, thought of Laddo as the person to step in at the last minute. Standing in for the gentleman who has been doing the job for many, many years.

If all goes well I can imagine that the elderly gentleman may feel content to hand over the role permanently to Laddo. There is no one in the village who would take in on with so much gusto and pleasure as Laddo.

He will be riding high on November 11th 2010. A huge thank you is due to those that made a dream come true and congratulations and due to Laddo, who life goes spiralling upwardly and he takes it all in his stride.


Coincidently St. Martin was born in Hungary in Szombathely, in approximately AD 316.

He began his good works as a very young man and was about the same age as Laddo is now when he met the poor man begging for alms.

Monday 1 November 2010

Have you got bones under your skin too, like me?

First published on conductor on Wednesday, 4 March 2009

"Left, right, up and down" ,3rd March 2009

Doing it together

Sometimes conductive upbringing is exhausting. Imagine what it must be like for a family to live conductively all the time.

When I work in a conductive groups, the children or adults go home and I either begin the next group or I go home too and get busy with my “bits-in-between for conductors”.

When I work at home with a family, as I am doing at the moment, I have a certain amount of hours when I work then I get some time for myself, not much time, but it is mine to do a few bits-in-between in. At the end of the day I am exhausted!

If families live conductively they don’t go home when their eight-hour stint is up, or hand over to someone else, it is a twenty-four-hour life and much more exhausting than the work I do.

Home and away

One of the best things about working at home with a family is that we have ample opportunity to talk. This week we discussed the experiences that the whole family has had of conductive groups in a centre and now, for the past two weeks, of conductive upbringing at home. They value both of these and their child has done well in both situations, but at the moment they are really thankful for the input at home. They are particularly interested to see how I suggest ways of solving a problems, and then leave the child to work it out for himself, offering him tips along the way. They say it is good to see, through watching what I do and asking questions, how they can live with their child at home, to give him as much independence as they can.

Home goals count double

The situation is also an eye-opener for me. I have been working with this child for six years in a group and this is only the second time that I have worked with him within his family. He is actually more independent when he works within a group, he allows a lot to be done for him at home, in fact he often demands it!

One of the benefits of my being in the family is that I can also talk to the extended family, the Omas and Opas, Mum, Dad and siblings. I can explain to them the best ways to offer assistance, or not to offer assistance, the latter being the most difficult. Not only difficult for me to say, especially to the doting grandparents but even more difficult for them to do. It is often hard for me to keep my hands away and let the child complete something alone, but I always manage to stick my hands in my pockets and let him get on with it. Imagine how difficult it is for an Oma to do. Here, however, they are tough with themselves and they are doing a great job.

More than arms and legs

My boy, as I call him is, is in my eyes a perfect “Petö” boy! I actually believe all people, whatever their age or whatever problems they have to solve, are perfect Petö clients, but this little boy really is a delight to work with.

He has so many other problems apart from his arms and legs not always doing what he wishes them to do. He is a child who I love to work with, and a child and family for whom conductive upbringing really does allow for development of the whole personality, in all aspects of his life. And for the growth of the whole family.

This boy flourishes after just a few days either in the group or at home, but here at home everyone is there to see how and try it for themselves. The whole family flourishes.

Where is your head?

My boy, who calls me his lovely English lady, is a joy to work with and so interesting.

He is a typical example of the children about whom I spoke to Dr Hári in my final exam. We spoke for an hour about something that was not actually the theme of my question, but we had a very long interesting discussion on a subject which interested us both very much. At the end she gave me my top mark of the year!

These children are those who ask you whether you are still there when they can’t see you any more,. The moment you go out of sight they believe that you have disappeared, vanished into thin air, that you do not exist anymore. Although they can still hear your voice.

My boy asked me where my head was yesterday when he could no longer see that part of my body! I asked him where he thought my voice was coming from if I had no head. He had the answer immediately, “It coming from Nürnberg (80 kilometres away) where your head is and you are talking very loudly.

Who says ears are on the side of your face?
This all depends from which angle you are looking from.

We did some drawing this week. It is a struggle but bringing results, as we saw today when his drawings of people had two arms and two legs, on the left and on the right, instead of four limbs on one side of the body as was the case not very long ago.

The eyes and nose, the mouth and the ears still turn up in peculiar places on the face, but that was better today with the stickers and mask game that we have been playing with all week.

Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes

Lots of games are needed to develop both spacial awareness and awareness of where arms and legs are, in space and on the body. Where up and down and inside and outside are. Some children think that there is only half a car there when they only see the nose and the passenger doors of a toy sticking out from behind a sofa. The rest simply does not exist for them, just as my head didn’t exist when no longer in sight.

We did lots of things yesterday to develop these skills.
We went shopping and we baked pizza.

Where is the cheese?

In the supermarket there were directions to follow to find the ingredients, top shelf, bottom shelf, orange box, green box, a little bit to the left or to the right. As well as standing on tip toes, stretching arms, crouching down and steering the rolator around packed shelves and busy shoppers. Head just had to be held high.

Fine motor practise at the check up

This held up the queue a bit but everyone was all smiles and I kept my hands stuck deep in my pockets. I only had to dig them out once, to catch a jar of mushrooms, as we didn’t want any dropped jars to upset the apple cart and spoil the fun.

There is a picture above showing how while baking we drew a grid on the pizza to prevent a “pile up” of mushrooms or salami! There was a tendency last time that we made pizza to make the same movement over and over again, not to move the eyes and always to look in the same place. The rest of the pizza which was out of sight got neglected and therefore didn’t get any topping. Using the grid we developed a method of placing six slices of mushroom in each square with one pepperoni and one slice of salami, all topped with a small handful of cheese. As you can see it worked wonderfully. Everyone got a bit of everything on their slice and it tasted good too.


The title of the posting refers to a question that I was asked by my client yesterday. The answer took a big chunk of our time but it was worth it, Granddad overheard and was really impressed by the level of our discussion!

Another snippet of our funny conversation

Me – “Oh well done! You are really good today.”

My boy – „Hast du das auch gemerkt“ – Did you notice that too?