Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It isn't always painless!

25 years ago I got started on this method of approaching Cerebral Palsy called Conductive Education. It was very popular at least at the time and it made many kids with the disability walk, move or become otherwise functional. Many families from around the world traveled to Hungary, where it originated from for an ounce of hope and mostly they didn't leave disappointed. Today I read blog posts from professionals in the field that seem to mainly focus on two things: why it's not therapy but education and how it doesn't hurt a bit. If there's anything I'm more qualified to talk about than them it's my own experience with pain. The Peto Institute made me walk in braces and with sticks. The braces would lock at the knee, so my spastic legs would be straight, so you made swinging  movements from the hip and were pretty heavy. They had metal rods going into the shoe on both sides. The sticks were there for balance and had rubber elements at the end. I walked and walked around like that for hours  not only at the Institute that only provided therapy on the weekdays but also on the weekends when my parents pushed me even harder. I would do rounds around the apartment every day, which was often very exhausting and yes... painful. To those claim that it's all so painless please come inspect the rough skin on my hands and feet I have till this day. The rods going into the orthopedic shoes  gave me blisters and corns on my feet, the brace hurt pressing against the back of my thigh and sometimes I'd hurt myself falling down. The sticks had rubber tips remember, and the floors at the Institute were smooth. Also, as I grew older locking the brace become more and more painful every day, because my knees were  spastic and it only got worse with age. Sometimes the kids fell down taking the chair with the grab bars with them [ a piece of furniture exercise tool] and back when I was there we were forced to wear Institute generic outfits: a t shirt and shorts, no pants, which made it more painful to slide up and down the plinth. Yes, some Conductors have pretty strong opinions about things they don't really know. And I don't want to lie to people. But it made me a feeling of a job well done every day. And it made me feel like it had a purpose. I was tired, exhausted and in pain but I was improving. I don't see the point of sugarcoating anything. All good things require hard work, sacrifice and patience. That's how we appreciate them when we finally get them. The Peto method is hard work. Pushing yourself, being pushed by others. But you do improve. What is this new approach that things need to be stress less and painless all of a sudden? You work hard, you get better and you feel like you earned it, because those moments of pain are so worth it when your parents see you walking down the hall.  

No comments:

Post a Comment