August 23, 2009
Somewhere out here
Hello to all,
This week I focused on stretching techniques with my group of students at the school Bidhan Chandra. Most of them have severe muscle atrophy that affects at least one appendage. Therefore I have included several simple but effective stretching exercises at the beginning and end of each class day. I have engaged several different staff during each activity in order to build up the confidence of the children. Most of the time, there are great laughs to be had by all as some tasks are difficult to even the most physically capable teachers. It is vital to the futures of these children and I have been working in different ways to capture their confidence.
Along the way, i've had some difficulty conveying the importance of what I like to call the emotional X-factor. As the bones of these children grow and outgrow their muscles, they begin to experience spasms and atrophies that make simple tasks like standing on one foot quite difficult. This rigidity in movement is rather severe and disturbs their physical capacities, let alone their self-esteem. The X-factor is about engaging the children with the idea about how important this period of growth is in their lives. Simply put, it is not intended recreation but disciplined activities of repeatedly activating atrophied muscles that will best combat limb paralysis. So far, I think I have built some genuine consensus with the teachers about the the real importance of youth development and strategies for slowing the onset of some problems reoccurring problems. With the help of the teachers, I have been helping them work through stiffness and immobility. Only time will tell but I am hopeful.
As I waited for a bus at the bus stop in front of the school the other day, another bus blew right by a group of students from the school. I can only imagine the difficulties my students will experience in the future if a local bus would attempt to ignore them. In my observation, many of the kids just walk down the street to another bus stop to avoid missing the bus. I have even experienced the bias attitude towards these children when I am asked why I am here from America. When I tell them I am here to work with handicapped children, a look of confusion overcomes their faces. Sometimes they ask me why and I ask them why not. Hopefully that if nothing else, my being here will reflect a change in the bias attitude that people have adopted towards less physically abled people here in India.
Lastly, it has come to my attention that I will need to author a short manual that highlights several anatomical portions of the body with which I have seen the greatest difficulties. I intend to use high resolution, color illustrations and simple explanations to extend the focus of this project for future local social work organizations. Alas, this may have to wait until I get home. I want to make sure this is a well thought out effort that illuminates every vital detail to sustain this work.
Posted by dipset at August 23, 2009 01:13 PM