Tuesday, 13 October 2015

PARKINSON'S – SUMMER SURVEY

Satisfaction, but what satisfaction?

Summer holidays are under way in New Zealand. Lisa Gombinsky has taken the opportunity of surveying her Parkinson's group –
I surveyed them to find out what they were happy with, what parts of the program they enjoyed the most or found the most useful, what they didn't enjoy, what they struggled with, and what suggestions they have for future sessions.
Lisa asked about the usual things that people think of when talking about Conductive Education for people with Parkinson's –
...things like learning to change position and to stand up fluently, seated exercises, arm and shoulder exercises, fine manipulation and handwriting, speech and facial expressions, walking and balancing activities, memory and concentration work, stretching, and I included the pre-program greeting round and the post-program morning tea amongst my activity list...
My clients were all happy with the program and with the balance of the activities and few had suggestions about what they wanted done differently. They listed outcomes that included better balance and being able to get up from the chair easier or safer, or having less shoulder pain.
Hardly unexpected findings. these. But there is more...

Lo and behold...
...when asked what the most important thing that they got out of the group was, not a single person listed an activity or something mobility related.

You guessed it – psychosocial outcomes were once again featured as the most important.

For the conductor too

Lisa is also one of this group –
Two weeks later, and that really isn't a very long time, I realize that I miss them. That I miss the community spirit of this wonderful group and their wives or husbands who often come along; That I miss the laughter, the fun, the games, and the fellowship, and that I'm glad that the school holidays are over and that I look forward to getting my dose of this wonderful community again this Friday morning.

It is hardly a new observation that if conductive pedagogy has to be considered a 'therapy' then the way to think of it is a psycho-therapy. Nor that its mood-enhancing effects encompass everyone in the group.

Outside observers have also felt and reported this over the years.

Shout it from the hills

It is pity that academic evaluators have so persistently missed this effect. Small-scale, self-constructed surveys like Lisa's reported here (the conductor as researcher) should be more widely shared, as she has done on her blog, to contribute to a wider discussion of what Conductive Education really involves and implies, to help further a maturer societal understanding of what CE does – with implications for funding, research, and the well-being of clients. 

Reference

Gombinsky, L. (2005) It takes a community, Conductive Magic, Transformations, and Me, 12 October

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