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(22 Posts)
mariana Sun 17-May-15 20:06:26

i worked with special needs adults for more than 3 years. I was teaching them crafts, knitting, crochet, making cards mostly. they had a crange of problems, from learning difficulties, Autism, Aspoergers Syndrome, Epilepsy, Downs syndrome. the Downs syndrome were very different--one could not even speak or feed himself. the other one danced, acted, sang, could do almost anything. He was my Scrabble partner, and would neasrly always beat me. I taught the girls how to knit and how to make blankets out of squares, took ages, but we got there. Also little purses and bags, that we sold to raise money for the group. Plus I taught them crochet, which they seemd to find easier to pick up than knitting. One particular pupil was over 60, could not read or write,apart from his own name. But I taught him how to make cards, that were good enough to sell, at our own stall. it gave him such a sens of achievement. i was so proud of them all, and loved working with them. then the group moved to another village, that was impossible for me to get to, so I had to stop, that was a year ago. But i still miss going.

Crafting Sun 17-May-15 20:22:55

Very valuable work * marianne* . Nice that you could help so many people. I am sure others could benefit from your creative work. Can you help at a local school or age concern or something of that nature?

mariana Sun 17-May-15 20:30:07

I would love to do something like that. Someone else suggested the local school. I had not thought of age concern. There is actually somewhere in my village that I could go,called Compaid---they need people with computer skills too---but it is way too far for me to walk--no buses. I did approach them to see if they provide lifts but the said they do not, could not realy afford a taxi there and back every week.

But because I love teaching, i teach crochet at my Tuesday afernoon group, and I also run 2 groups at home teaching crochet, within u3a, so I do not get paid, butI do not mind that--it is the teaching that I love.

Katek Sun 17-May-15 22:00:13

I enjoy crochet as well Mariana-my grandmother taught me 50 years ago. I love making baby items and crochet lace as well. I recently made a bagful of tiny hats for the NICU at our local maternity hospital. There's only about 10 rounds to each hat! Fab project for beginners and a worthwhile cause.

PRINTMISS Mon 18-May-15 08:57:40

I ran a Gateway Club (a youth club for people with learning disabilities) for about 20 years. It was much more a family group of about 20-30, and we did not do much teaching, but we did put on very good Christmas Shows and even managed two concerts at the local Theatre, in the small room. Music was our bond, although we did play pairs, darts, pool, draughts and scrabble, with those able. Always a joy to be with the folk. Totally demanding, without demanding anything, if you understand what I mean.

AshTree Mon 18-May-15 09:08:50

What a very rewarding way to spend your time mariana - I can imagine how much you must miss it now.
I love to crochet as well. No-one in my family could do this when I was growing up but there was an elderly lady, a friend of my mother's, who used to visit and she would sit doing the most intricate filigree work with such a tiny needle and fine thread. It fascinated me and I always wished I could do it. When Ii was about 16, I bought a beginner's crochet book and taught myself, and have loved it ever since. Not so easy now because crocheting tends to make my hands ache more than knitting, so I only do it now and again.

Gagagran Mon 18-May-15 09:57:26

Interesting to read these posts and especially your comment about music Printmiss. I watched a Youtube programme last night featuring the autistic and blind music savant, Derek Paravicini which illustrated this perfectly. (He is related to the Duchess of Cornwall apparently). Well worth having a look at - he is remarkable!

mariana Mon 18-May-15 10:00:32

I taught myself from a book also. it was not easy at the time, but I did get there. I used to crochet in fine cotton and a small hook, but I cannot see to do that now.

Lovely to read about the Gateway club. My group, called "Hobbies" put on a show ever year-called "Hobbies got talent". I used to watch them rehearse every week. 2 of the group, did their pieces using sign language--called Makaton---Hushabye Mountain and Thank you for the Music. It fascinted me, I could watch it for hours. I tried to learn, but only managed a little. But I did manage to find a version of Thank you for the Music on Youtube, by Wootten Bassett school, who won an award.[ in Makaton]

Well done Katek for making the little hats. A lovely project to do, nice and quick, not too much wool needed.

We always bought our own wool for our projects, but just lately we have been getting wool donations that really help us.

TriciaF Mon 18-May-15 11:43:36

Mariana - I can understand how you love working with special needs people. Part of my job involved projects with the pupils of special schools and it was very rewarding.
After I retired I had 2 jobs working one to one with Downs teenagers, both very different, but real characters and great fun.
I hope you find some other work like that, but one problem I found is the various hoops you have to go through now to be accepted for voluntary work. I think you have to pay for some sort of certificate now.
Would you be able to do some training to get a qualification? If so there are lots of jobs eg in respite care .

mariana Mon 18-May-15 15:47:40

Actually, I never ever got checked for doing that work, although I know I should have. But just recently, I was checked for the church for working there , foir a week in school summer holidays, but I think it only covers work I do in the church.

I think I am probably too old now to do any kind of training, and the expense might be too much for me. It is very difficult where I live , in a village-I would probably have to go to the nearest big town.

PRINTMISS Mon 18-May-15 16:03:49

We were fortunate to have a group of about 8 young people doing their Duke of Edinburgh Award with us for about 4 years, they were quite fantastic, and because I love Abba's "I have a dream" I asked if they would learn it in Makaton - and a speech therapist who was know to me through our son, came and showed them the signs. We did a Christmas show when they performed it (they were so willing), and had the whole show on tape which unfortunately we have lost. We have the first one we did though, and how we love to watch that. "I did it my way" in 30 different keys, and of course "When you come to a storm". We have so many happy memories from a group of people who were quite special.

mariana Mon 18-May-15 21:19:16

Oh wow. I would love to learn Makaton, especially to music. I have seen some teaching clips on Youtube, but I need to spend more time on it.

At our last show, I videoed it on my camera, and downloaded it, to see it clearer--I have watched "thank you for the music" so many times. I love it.

PRINTMISS Tue 19-May-15 07:36:27

I don't really think Makaton is all that useful mariana, the sign language used by the deaf people is better, I think, but difficult for people with learning difficulties to use. We have tried several times to get our son to use Makaton, and although we know he understands it, he adamantly refuses to use it unless with a friend of his who also does not talk and can use the Makaton. Our son has his own sign language which is very expressive together with the body language.

mariana Tue 19-May-15 13:17:53

I am sure you asre right--but I just love to see it. Apart from that is is British sign Language and American sign language I believe

PRINTMISS Tue 19-May-15 15:16:48

I am not sure about that mariana, I haven't really gone into it that much, I just know that some people use bits and pieces of it which seem to be generally acknowledged to be useful. Like you I do find that 'singing' in sign language is very moving.

2old2beamum Tue 19-May-15 20:41:37

mariana wish you lived near us. As a mum to 3 with Down Syndrome I would love you to do some work with my 3. The 2 girls are articulate and have 2 and 3 GCSE's (not A* I hasten to add grin But the world could do with a few more like you. We also have 2 younger DC's who would also benefit from you!!
Thank you for your post you have restored my faith in humanity.

mariana Tue 19-May-15 22:59:59

oh thank you so much. What a lovely thing to say to me. I loved my Downs Syndrome pupil Tommy--he was so affectionate and always was giving me hugs. He was 30 years old, and he was my Scrabble partner. he could not count well, but with words he was different-the first timer i played him, he went first, and put the letters PION on the board---then added an E---as I tried to think what word he was doing-then another ER---the word was PIONEER--double points and 50 bonus--his next round put an S at the end of pioneer triple word score, plus a triple word score down. He had about 250 points, and I had about 30. So all my plans of going a bit easy on him flew out of the window.
Out of the first 10 games we played, I only won 1---and I had played a lot oif scrabble in my time.

I know that you have a very special family. I am sure that you realise that.

2old2beamum Thu 21-May-15 21:56:10

mariana how special these people are and I know we are very honoured! You made me smile over scrabble, our 2 girls I am sure would win on some quiz shows on some subjects (Royal Family and pop music).

Thank you once again you are a rare breed nowadays. Did you hear of the young lady who died of a bowel one listened to her family.
She was being "naughty"!!

Take care

Flowerofthewest Thu 21-May-15 23:50:08

I worked with children and adults with Learning Difficulties for 25 years. We were taught Makaton and all of the staff used it with the Adults in the Day Centre. It is used along with speech and not just as a 'sign'. It was changed after a while to 'Signalong' which was an easier way to sign, especially for people with learning disabilities. We found it extremely useful although a lot of our people used their own modified version of it.

I used to be a befriender to a 6 years old with Down Syndrome. I had a 4 year old son at the time. Whilst on holiday we went to a railway station. On a neighbouring seat was a gentleman with an adult son who had Down Syndrome. The man said to the son that he was going to fetch him a cup of tea. After a while the son became agitated and started crying for 'Daddy'. My little boy walked over to him and spoke along with signing that 'Father gone for drink' The man immediately calmed down and smiled and waited for his father to return. When my little one came back to our seat he said 'The man wanted his daddy and I signed that he had gone to fetch a drink for him'. He had picked up the signing from the little girl we used to look after at weekends. A very valuable tool to have.

mariana Fri 22-May-15 15:08:22

I have just been to a local charity called COMPAID where they teach diasabled and special needs adults to use the computer, plus a few crafts, with a view to volunteering to work there, maybe 2 afternoons a week. The person in charge will not be back till Tuesday, so i could not get anything sorted out, but spoke to a lovely young man who told me all about what goes on. I really hope it works out for me as I really need this-i am going through a tough period, and hope it will help me through, as well as being of some use to them. I worked with special needs before, and loved it. So fingers crossed. I believe that if it is the right thing for me to do, it will fall into place, and if it does not, then that means it was not meant for me.
And I have to keep searching. We will see.

TriciaF Fri 22-May-15 16:30:29

Mariana - I hope it works out for you, sounds a great idea.
Flower - you story is interesting, your little one will maybe follow in your footsteps!
I found with brighter of the 2 that I worked with that he seemed to feel an affinity with other Downs children (there were a few more in the community where I was living at the time.) He was very protective towards them and tried to help them.

Flowerofthewest Fri 22-May-15 16:33:36

I don't think so TriciaF. He's 31 now and not following in my footsteps at all. He is still kind, thoughtful and sweet though.