Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Play Ball!

I would make a terrible fly on the wall.  If I were a fly on a wall, I wouldn’t stay put.  I’d be buzzing around, participating in other people’s business when I am suppose to be like the fly on a wall watching what goes on.  You know, “What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall . . . .”  Initially in my first "observation" of Nicholas, he’s aware I’m there to "observe," and makes sure I’m paying attention to him and watching what he does instead of talking to his Mimi!  But as the session gets underway, Nicholas tires of me simply watching; he decides I am to be an active participant in his therapy.

Nicholas wants to play T-ball.  It’s his goal, and it will happen, I have no doubt.  So the first session I observe involves acquainting Nick to the basic concepts of T-ball and the equipment.  Sue Carder, Nick’s physical therapist, purchased a T-ball stand, a bat, and a ball similar to the one they use in the sport.  Goals for the session:  teach Nicholas how to hold and use the bat and how to swing at the ball on the tee.  After stretches, Sue gets the equipment and shows it to Nicholas who gets excited.  We move to the open “gym” area to set up the T-ball field.  There are no bases per say, and that’s the least of our priorities.  (Our priorities?” As if! Shoo fly, shoo!)  Sue sets up the T-ball stand, placing the ball on the floor beside it.  Nicholas can hardly wait and starts to place the ball on the tee, but Sue redirects his attention to the bat.  She proceeds to place the bat in Nick’s hands, showing him how to hold it and the correct placement of his hands on it.  She stands behind him and shows him how to swing the bat, then how he’ll swing it at the ball sitting on the tee.  At this point, she puts the ball on the tee and again, Nick is ready to start swinging, but Sue reminds him first things first.  “How do you hold the bat?” she asks.  He places his hands incorrectly, and she helps him correct them.  Then together, they do a practice swing or two towards the ball.  Once he’s set up, she moves away to let him take the test swing by himself.  He hits it off the stand, but that’s not enough for Nicholas!  He starts haphazardly running no where in particular!  Caught off guard, Sue grabs the ball and  then Nicholas to return him to "homeplate" to show him how to run bases.  Then, she “chases” after him to tag him out, but Nicholas makes it back to "homeplate!" Safe!

Nicholas wants Sue to bat next but with a little encouragement, Nick steps to the plate to take another hit.  She reminds him of his hand position on the bat, which he corrects with a little guidance.  His next swing knocks the ball across the room towards me!  So, I go get it as he proceeds to “make his way” around the “bases.”  I start after him, ball in hand, "trying to catch up” with him.  I fail.  Nicholas scores again!  “Now it’s your turn!” he insists, pointing to Sue.  Sue gets a hit and Nicholas goes after the ball while Sue “runs” around the bases.  Nicholas closes in and BAM, he tags her! She’s out!  Nicholas then announces with a pointing finger towards me, “It’s your turn to bat, Miss Carolyn!”  One “strike” later, I knock one off the tee and start around the imaginary bases.  Nicholas moves to get the ball, and begins his chase to tag me out!  OHHH!  He succeeds, most pleased with his efforts.  Sue encourages him to bat again, and he does.  Nicholas initially holds the bat incorrectly but this time, before Sue can say something, he realizes it and corrects his hand position himself.  Awesome!  Despite all the odds against him upon his birth, Nicholas is one smart cookie.

You and I take for granted these baby steps of success towards our efforts in achieving a career goal or a weight loss goal or whatever.  At the Green Therapy Pavilion, mini-celebrations happen daily.  I’m told in traditional therapeutic settings, focus is less about the small successes and more about the final result.  For our therapy outpatients, these small successes are the building blocks to long-term success and ability.  They work hard to take these small steps forward which build eventual milestones.  As I observe our therapists at work, as well as our clients in their therapeutic work, I recognize the privilege I’m given to witness these small miracles over the stretch of several observations.

I’m sure the therapists find my marveling at such things amusing, but I’m willing to bet they once felt the same way when they began their study and practice of their profession.  Otherwise, what would have kept them hooked in the work they do?

In the Next Blog Entry: Guest Blogger Sue Carder shares her experience working with Nicholas in Keep Going! - Nicholas is also the team manager.  He decides everything – what the line-up is, who is going to play in the outfield and where the bases are. . . .

We want to hear from you!  Please share your responses and comments by clicking below on “Comment” – you may post them anonymously or using your gmail.com profile name.

“The educated do not share a common body of information, but a common state of mind.” ~Mason Cooley
Please share our blog with others via Facebook, Twitter, or email!  Follow our blog!  Click on “Join our Site” below.

Blog content is copyrighted property of Wendell Foster’s Campus for Development Disabilities and Carolyn Smith Ferber and/or other blog authors).  Content may be used, duplicated or reprinted only with the expressed authorization of the Wendell Foster’s Campus.  Permission for use, duplication or reprints may be made to wfcampus.org@gmail.com.

No comments:

Post a Comment