Susie Mallett

small66711@aol.com

Monday, 24 October 2011

A walking success


Here is the best toy that I have ever discovered


If I had a conductive toy-list this would be near the top

It is a Laufrad, a walking bike, that I recommended recently to a family with a disabled child and it is a great success.

The child is a small eight-year-old and the XL version is just perfect for her, now put together on the lowest settings so there is room to grow. I discovered the bike in a catalogue given to me at a local shop, I then showed it to her mum who gave her approval and ordered it, all within a few days. The very next day after making the order we got a phone call. not only to say that it had arrived at the shop but that it was assembled and ready for collection.

So collected it was, and all in the space of four days a bike was found, ordered, picked up, and our Little Princess can now cycle home on her own. Well actually not quite cycling but walking home on her bike!

It is fourteen months since Little Princess became my first ever child-client to walk home on her own. She progressed from using a rolator to a tricycle quite quickly and now she is using her Laufrad. I cannot help but wonder what she will be doing next.

Made in Germany

The bike, a trike actually, is made in Germany as many toys always used to be, by Pedalo:


We, the conductors here in Nürnberg, are all are absolutely thrilled with it. The child, who now owns one of these “walking-bikes”, has athetoid cerebral palsy. She can walk a very wobbly ten paces alone, she has very good trunk control and sits on a stool very safely. When she has to, as she does when using this bike, she can grasp well with both hands, and she has very good orientation and coordination skills. For example, she knew immediately when she got on to it that, if she scooted with one leg, then she would turn in as tight a circle as possible.

Her Mum was brilliant in the moment that she gave this bike to her daughter. She just picked her child up. plonked her on the bike and let her get on with trying it out! She had absolutely no doubts that she could do it, neither did the child or the conductors!

Highly recommended

We all thoroughly recommend it.


PS

Many thanks go to the man at:


for the great service. Your advice, the ordering and super-fast assembly of the bike are all very much appreciated.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

They just keep coming back for more

 "That green and pleasant land again"
by Susie Mallett, May 2011

I have experienced again and again how, as they get older, children begin to choose Conductive Education for themselves. As our young clients reach adulthood, many return to us, even after a break from conductive sessions for many years. They have been living conductively without input from conductors, but often an operation, a deterioration of movement or simply the wish to be more active, brings some clients returning and asking for our help.

In the summer I had a seventeen-year old lad phone me, after an operation on his legs, asking whether I could give him a week of my time in his summer holiday, and more recently, in the autumn half-term holiday, a thirteen-year-old boy asked his mum to phone me to arrange a week following a very successful operation on his arm.
The older boy had not been with us for about eight years after he moved away to boarding-school. The younger boy was with us regularly until he started high school, returning for a time after a foot operation and now after one on his arm.

The young lad was with me last week. He has grown as big as me, he has a deep voice already but, although he looks like a young man he still wanted to sing all the songs that went with all the actions, and when we did not sing he whistled while he worked.
Both these experiences were eye-opening

These children turning into teenagers have been brought up conductively. They have not taken part in conductive sessions all of their lives but they have experienced conductive pedagogic enough to have developed a problem solving, independent thinking personality. This is what I recognise in the children who return to me. It is not how well they can move, some of them can talk no steps unaided, that tells me that they have been in conductive groups, it is how they think and how there are that has developed from their conductive lifestyle.

Yes, I know that if you ask a teenager who attended lots of conductive sessions as a child to roll over you can usually recognise the “conductive roll”. If you ask teenagers to walk unaided across a room they will often immediately clasp their hands. But it is the way they are as people, how their personalities have developed, how they want to succeed and be involved in life, that for me shows that not only have they attended conductive sessions but they have lived a conductive lifestyle.
It is a joy to work with these returning independent souls. I hope to meet many more of them in the future. Our door is always open.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Life


"Autumn 2011" by Susie Mallett



I was at a meeting all day yesterday and, although the autumn sun was shining outside, this was interesting enough for me not to be longing to be out there walking along the riverbank or cycling through the woods.

One of the subjects that came up was how to provide the opportunity for conductive living to adults who had lived conductively with their families for most of their lives, as children, and wish to continue to do so.

Over a cup of coffee on this glorious, autumnal Sunday I was directed to this link by Norman Perrin:


It is not only in the conductive world, it is also not only in Germany, that children, who have discovered a satisfactory lifestyle that suits their needs at the moment, on becoming adults have to compromise, have to make do with less than adequate, become less independent and therefore more dependent, and begin again the fight against the authorities once for their right to enjoy life to the full.

How strong can families be? 

How long can families go on giving their now adult children the help that they need in this fight? 

What will it take to change the world out there, at least enough for parents to be sure that there are others to take up this fight when they themselves can no longer do it?

These families should no longer have to rely on that special social-worker or the chance meeting with a conductor, that perhaps helps to make truggling through life easier for them. How long will it be until anyone who has slightly different needs to the rest of us automatically receives the care and assistance necessary without having to fill in the same endless forms or answer the same questions a hundred times?

When will coming-of-age for a young adult with disabilities mean the same as it does for an eighteen-year old who is not disabled the opening of doors to a wider world and not the slamming of them in their faces.

In the relatively short time since I became a conductor, medical care has improved so much that the population now includes many more elderly members with disabilities and many more at the other end of the spectrum, those born with disabilities. Children who will one day be disabled adults.

I have seen little change in provision for these members of our society. Yes, the streets have become more accessible, the public transport too, but I do not think there is as much of an increase in their usage as there should be. The infra-structure is still missing, there is still no way to make use of those improvements when the money is not there and the carers are not available to help.

I did not leave the meeting yesterday with the air of despondency that I often have about conductive education's becoming established in the world of learning. I came away with a sadness and questioning why it should be that all members of our society with a disability of any kind have an endless struggle to achieve what it is that they wish for themselves in their lives. Whether it is a wish to live together in a house with friends, to attend a mainstream school with an assistant, to study for a master’s degree, to continue living conductively or to own an electric wheelchair, it is a continuous round of fighting, form-filling and questions and answers. 

We find ourselves going down the same paths year after year, with the same officials, with the same questions, always for the next children or adults, nothing changes, no wheels get oiled through experiences. 

Caring is not always enough

A friend wrote to me today to thank me for helping her with something. In her mail she wrote:

“I can see that you care not only about CE but about people too, which in our profession is not a disadvantage.”

What would the world for our clients with disability be like if there were not members of all the professions who work with them who are able and willing to care about people and not just do a job?

But these families, children, adults both young and old, need more than professionals who care. They need the backing of the powers-that-be too. Until they get this we shall all go on caring.

Notes 

Norman Perrin - on facebook 

 

PS

After I had read the newspaper article and written my ramble above I went back for a re-read and went on to read the comments.

There I read about a problem that crops up again and again in my work here in Germany. Children become adults and provision for these young adults can be less than adequate, so many parents decide that they will be the carers of their adult-children. Care allowance is available to them. Then when these parents reach retirement age what happens next? They continue to do the caring but the allowance is no longer available. I read that the same happens in the UK. What a crazy world we live in, but can it really be so uncaring?