Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New book

Music for Children and Young People with Complex Needs is a new book through Oxford University Press by Adam Ockelford.

Not being a muscian, I can see that this book is going to be a bit tricky for me to comprehend, however flicking through it, I know I will get a lot out of it. Ockelford breaks down taken for granted skills into meaningful chunks. For example, in his Sounds of Intent framework he looks at the various levels in reactive, proactive, and interactive stages of sound knowledge. In reactive, he starts with encounters sounds, then goes to shows emerging awareness of sounds, then to recognizing and reacting to simple patterns in sound...

I have long thought that a good langauge for describing the subtle interactions that occur with a person with a disability may best be described used musical terms - the build up, the burst, and the roll down are my gross terms, which I am sure map onto to more elegant and precise terms in music.

I look forward to reading this book and think that it will be a useful tool for music therapists, musicians, and people interested in cognition and communication.

Interaction shame???

I've been noticing lately how many people seem a little apologetic when they tell me or show me what they do when they are interacting with people with PIMD. I hear things like "we just muck around", "just have cuddles and stuff", "we don't do much", "I probably baby her a bit", "you'll think I'm a bit of a loon". But the person knows that those are the things that work in interactions: playfulness, fun, repetition, quiet being together, tickles. Why is that people are apologetic about doing these things, when they are the things that contribute to a person's quality of life? Why can't people stand up and be proud (in the home, day service, and out and about) and say this is what being with this person in a meaningful way is all about?
So many great quality interactions happen in bathrooms and bedrooms behind closed doors (often people are more vocal, move more, and are most alert) where people won't be embarrassed by their playful interactions - can we get playfulness out of the closet?!?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Strengths and Needs

In 2006 I heard Penny Lacey (University of Birmingham) talk about working with people with PIMD. Penny talked about a simple approach of doing a strengths and needs profile of the person. The way I remember it (though I am not sure it is 100% correct), needs was NOT a euphamism for weakness, but "what does this person need in order to be the best person they can be". So somebody with a vision impairment may have a need for people to sit 25 cm from the person's face, or need objects to be held to the left or right side, or interaction partners not to sit in front of bright windows in order to avoid looking into glare. I really like this approach of looking at what we need to do to support a person best.
David Wareing spoke last week at the ASSID Conference in Melbourne about his "shaking up the house" work. He also talked about a strengths and needs model, but he used a more systematic, but dynamic, means to determine the person's needs in the areas of cognition, communication, movement and other areas.
I think both of these approaches have much to offer for supporting high quality services for people with PIMD.