I’ve devoted a great deal of time and effort attempting to educate others about the movement possibilities those with ataxia can retain and achieve; much of it is on my website. (The rest is in my head and needs to be put onto paper.) While we do have problems and issues which prevent us from regaining completely normal movement, and we do have learning problems secondary to our neurological disorders, there remains a great deal of normal still within us. So why is it so difficult and seemingly impossible for many of us to find someone who can help us. The answer I’ve found is really fairly simple.
To understand how to teach someone anything lies within the teacher’s ability to connect with and understand the student. This is especially true if that teacher is attempting to change the student’s behavior and actions. Without that special knowledge and background information which is unique to the student, the teacher often becomes frustrated because the expected results are not being achieved. Subsequently, the student then is often labeled un-teachable, and that is what has happened with us.
Similar stories are often seen within our school systems. Kids labeled as un-teachable, un-reachable and cast aside because they don’t fit within the cookie cutter format. Then, at a later time, another approach is taken with the same information and the un-teachable kids excel and the teacher is proclaimed a miracle worker. You’ve seen and heard about things of this sort. Was that teacher so special and extraordinary? I think not – but they had a gift. Why?
I think not because that teacher merely applied some basic principles and had the personality to connect with the students. A basic understanding of their needs and learning abilities was recognized. That teacher was able to recognize how to teach those un-teachable students by presenting them with something they could understand, grasp and feel. The same information as before, only modified to fit the student’s needs.
We have been labeled un-teachable in reference to learning and retaining proper movement skills. All you have to do is read medical literature or talk to a physician or therapist about the subject. They have tried for decades to teach the ataxic person to move better. Their results haven’t been good. The limited positive outcomes have not been long lasting for the most part. Why? From my viewpoint they don’t understand why we have come to move as we do. They don’t recognize what it is we are doing wrong and therefore cannot get us to mimic what they are teaching. They don’t seem to understand how to help us learn. And they are normal, most of them always have been. Finally, they don’t fully understand how they themselves move and are attempting to partially teach through theory. So how can these experts expect to teach us and where does the fault really lie?
This is where I have found an edge within myself. Since I live within the ataxic world, lost much of my movement abilities secondary to SCA14, and have worked on re-learning to move more effectively through a lot of trial and error, I understand how and why we move as we do. I understand the mistakes we make; I’ve been there, done that…and sometimes still do. I’ve had to re-learn how a normal person moves and walks from an intellectual aspect, had to make reason of it for my condition and then mimic those movements until they became a memory again. And with that knowledge I can connect with other ataxic people. I understand them and can teach them where others fail. Am I a miracle worker with special talents beyond the others? NO. I simply understand the problem and solution. Again…it’s quite simple!
We are teachable. We can learn how to move much better. We are teachable! Will we ever move as a normal person again? No. However, we can learn how to move almost like normal while feeling like we’re moving normally in our mind. One of the greatest things I have come to hear is, “I can’t tell you have ataxia unless I look for it”. Many of you can achieve it as well. Simple common sense techniques and methods coupled with physical conditioning, a good positive attitude and dedication will lead you onto the road to improved independence.
It is really up to you. How bad do you want it? Video: http://tinyurl.com/2a8ouzz