“Beyond the Box” Part II

Mar 20, 2012
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A good teacher sets high expectations for achievement; they provide the vision, knowledge, and a plan to move ahead.  When I work with a new professional, I am looking for certain qualities.  Are they a Maverick… the out- of- the box thinker that recognizes the need for a different lens when dealing with a disability?  Do they have a willingness and a level of skill to try different approaches?  Do they have patience, confidence, and an ability to provide direction?

In turn, I try to display the qualities of a good student—that I am focused, set goals, am confident, and that I have a positive attitude and am open to direction.  A good student prepares, is not afraid to ask questions, is respectful, and is always on time.  I switch between a teacher and a student role.    When I work with professionals, I have to become knowledgeable about specific therapeutic techniques and what should be occurring with those prescribed methods.  I have to learn to keep pace with each professional based on their training, practice, and protocols.

Initially the new professional and I are not on equal footing.

I often have to challenge academic teaching, theories, and what the person has read or heard about Cerebral Palsy.  There can be a tug- of- war between what the textbook says compared to what professional sees when they work with me.  I often have to teach, encourage, and give confidence to the professional to trust me and what I share about the “in the skin” experience with my disability.

I have to show the professional that I am the master of my own body and clearly know what my strengths and weaknesses are. I have had to learn how to fine-tune how I engage with professionals.  This includes how I relay and share information.  I have learned to use different vocabulary and communication styles; sometimes my methods are short and to the point or are very detailed.  I had to learn when to be forceful and when to be calm about my wishes and when to clearly steer my treatment direction.

I have had to become a skilled facilitator.  Becoming an effective facilitator is a mix of several skills including listening to information that is conveyed by the professional, listening to instruction and repeating the information back to be clear, asking questions, and being able to put into words what happens when a particular technique is tried.

As we train new professionals coming into the Health and Fitness fields, we need to instill more Maverick-type qualities; seeing the person absent the diagnosis and moving beyond the box.


Author: Kerry