Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Work Begins

Third of a Series --

Yesterday (Monday) was our first program day. The kids start early and the place is filled with activity. Six are here for the conductive education
and HBOT and 2 or 3 of them have siblings who are here with the parent(s). It's odd to be around this many school age children and hear only nonsensical (to the untrained ear of a non-caregiver) babbling. For the caregiver, it can be rich in meaning. (I plan to learn more about cerebral palsy so I have some context for what I see here.)

Terry's schedule started with a session in the hyperbaric chamber and I went along for the experience. The entire procedure is referred to as if it were a nautical dive. With six adults inside, three with oxygen hoods, the chamber was full. Through one of the port holes, you could see a movie screen. A small speaker screeched out the audio track to the film at a decibel level that was painful. As the pressure increased, the sensation was the same you feel during an airplane takeoff. I'd also note that, crowded as it was, we had substantially more leg room in the chamber than if we were on an airplane. : - ) Once the chamber reached the desired pressure (1.6 atmospheres), oxygen hoods were put in place and pressure was maintained an hour, then depressurized over a 10 minute period. After a very quick lunch the conductive education session started. Photos of the CE classroom are included with this post.

I promised more detail about this and an overview of the process follows. If you want LOTS of detail, follow this link -- http://www.conductive-education.org.uk/2008/pdfs/articles/conductive%20education%20for%20people%20with%20stroke%20apr%2006.pdf.

Here's the overview:

Conductive Education (CE) is a form of special education and rehabilitation for children and adults with motor disorders. It is appropriate for conditions where disease or damage to the central nervous system affects a person's ability to control movement.

It teaches individuals with physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, dyspraxia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, stroke and head injury how to overcome their movement problems to lead more independent, dignified and fulfilled lives.

Conductive Education as the name suggests, is an educational approach. Its aim is to help individuals with motor disorders to overcome problems of movement as a way of enabling them to live more active and independent lives. In addition to improvements in bodily control, adult service-users and their families frequently report on an increase in confidence, motivation and general well-being. The combination of these can often lead to the successful management of and participation in a wide range of social and personal situations.

The two therapists led the three adult clients through a series of exercises for an hour, gave them a short break, and continued for another hour. If ever you have a day in which you find it difficult to have an attitude of gratitude, spend a day in this kind of setting -- it will put everything in perspective for you. And the real bonus is that at the end of the day, you get to walk out under your own power.

This was Terry's second time so she knew what to expect. The other folks were a little leery, especially when the heard the HBOT dive master refer to the session as boot camp. It was challenging, but not punishing. After the CE session was completed, it was time for another HBOT session. The work day ended about 6:00 P.M.

After supper we went into town to shop for perishables. Perhaps you can appreciate how happy A&P is to see two shoppers like Terry and I walk through their doors. We didn't disappoint them.

Downtown Picton is 8.6 miles from Ability Camp and the area is mostly farmland. When it gets dark, it is dark -- No reflected light from nearby cities or town or street lights. It makes Johnstown look like a metropolis. Tonight (Tuesday) there is supposed to be a meteor shower and the viewing from this location should be excellent. Condition precedent -- we are awake to actually do some viewing.

We'll keep you posted.

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