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
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. . . . ”
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