Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Helping Beyond the Classroom

Walking into one of my classes this morning I missed seeing a particularly energetic instructional aide.  Turns out she's home with shoulder pain and bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome.  Then, the classroom teacher tells me about a difficult experience over Christmas break when visiting the relatives.  "Mom" had shoulder surgery years ago which ended up damaging the nerves in her arm and she accidentally dropped a heavy plate of food all over her daughter's brand-new tablecloth.  Mom cried for the rest of the day with frustration and embarrassment.

The teacher asked for a catalog of adaptive aids, which I'm glad to share.  However, I first directed the conversation to figuring out how to adapt the environment, to increase independence.  Instead of passing around the 5 lb. stoneware dish of mashed potatoes, how about dividing the potatoes into two, lightweight dishes.  When fixing the meal, how about using inexpensive, plastic webbed shelf liner, or even just a wet paper towel, to keep mixing bowls stable on the countertop.  Can Mom prop her forearm on the table while she's sitting to help her stabilize her upper arm while she passes some foods to the next person?

There are so many opportunities to help folks beyond the classroom. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

SO true! Love this post.