Susie Mallett

Parent blog

Monday 16 July 2012

Working with adults

This is the first picture that I have been given that depicts conductive action. That is me on the right with grey hair holding on to a plinth. The picture was produced by three siblings, one of them has a motor disorder and has attended our groups for seven of his tens years. 

Joy in my soul

I realised at the weekend that my arm is getting better. Then I realised this morning how much I love my work, especially when I come back to life again after having felt poorly for a while.

Today was the second session with a new client.

He has a degenerative nerve disorder that is extremely rare. It has been diagnosed for several years but it is only now that he has sought us out, now that the symptoms are worrying him, causing him to have a heavy soul. He is concerned about the future and wishes to change something.

He had phoned me several months ago. We had a long chat on the phone and I sent him some information on conductive pedagogy. I also sent him the dates of the next adult's groups and, as he is working full time and has a young family I then left it to him to contact me when he had decided whether he wished to take part in any sessions with us.

Chatting on trains

Finding out about Conductive Education is never easy, but if you are Hungarian perhaps it is easier than for others. Although often, whatever nationality you are, discovering CE is accidental.

This was also the case for my client. His wife is Hungarian. She was on a train from or to Hungary when she just happened to strike up a conversation with a conductor who had been working in the conductive centre Würzburg where I have often worked myself. It is not many miles away from Nürnberg, my client’s, and my, home town.

I do not know how long ago that conversation between the conductor and the wife had taken place, perhaps as much as a year. My client told me that he decided to pick up the phone and call me when some symptoms, for example losing balance when putting on his shoes, began to have a significant influence on his everyday life.

Individual sessions

As I always say, we offer our clients what we consider best for them, what they consider best for themselves but, also what we can offer at that given moment in time.

Yes, it is a coincidence that there is no group available to offer this client a group session on the day of the week when he has time, but it has turned out to be a lucky coincidence.

I realised today, at our second individual meeting, that I could not do this work so well if this client were part of a group.

The symptoms that my client has are significant enough to have an effect on his life, but the movement disorders that cause the symptoms are so small that I wonder whether I would spot them if I was working with him in a group of six other clients. My observation skills have been put to the test today and I have been delighted by the success of our work together.

Together we go through a range of movements correcting them and trying to make them as exact as possible. Often, almost in the same breath, we both then describe the symptom that the errors of movement could cause.

My client then immediately adjusts his movements and tries again, and the transformation is immediate, not just in his movement but also in his face. He is beginning to understand what is happening within his body that could cause the difficulties he has experienced and he is learning, at what seems like lightning speed, what to do so that he has control once again over his own body.

We discuss all the opportunities during his day when he can be more aware of each of the things we have practised. He already has a very busy day so he is happy that a conductive lifestyle means adjusting and transforming daily living and not a two-hour daily exercise programme.

Now, as he kneels down to play with his three-year-old daughter on the floor, he does so with more conscious awareness of what it is that had previously caused him to fall. He does the same when standing up again. When he cleans his teeth, now with his left hand, walks to the car, sits or stands at the office, he is conscious of each and every movement, from the muscles moving under his feet as he attempts to stand on one foot to put on his shoes, to the tilt of his head as he takes a step sideways. He now knows that there are many aspects of his posture and his movements that can all affect his balance.

Making the transformations

My client walked in the room today with a smile on his face, and his first sentence was –
‘I am walking much better since last week.’ 

Then he went on to tell me why. 

There was joy in his soul as he told me and most important was the fact that he realised that he has the opportunity to take some control over what is happening to his body, he just has to learn how to make this transformation.

There was not just joy in my client’s soul today, but there was joy in mine too. 

I told him how much I am enjoying this work with him. I find it so challenging observing the smallest changes in movement and abilities, and suggesting and trying out ideas with him. Best of all I love to watch as he quickly transforms his movements from movements that had disabled him into movements that enable him. 

Enable him to carry on enjoying life, at work and at home.   

I look forward very much to next Monday morning.

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