Jamie Burke: Thoughts from His Journey to Independent Typing
Hello folks, it’s certainly my joy to share with you these thoughts that have helped and supported me on this work of increasing the ability to engage a more dependable and independently accessed typed communication. These are still the dearly good steps that continue to be helpful in the typing of communication.
October 23, 2012
Our Journeys on the Road to Independence
“First, only those who cannot speak, but know that their brains envision true thoughts, can truly understand the fear of not being able to demonstrate this to others who may question their intelligence. This is paramount when looking to assist in typed communication – that you try to understand the processes that this will require.”
- It is important for you to acknowledge the powerful emotion of fear and puzzlement in ourselves, and agree to support us with faith and belief in the ability to begin the attempt to give assistance in order to move through this. I feared that silence and a life of submission without choices. We must know that your heart believes in us and that you seek help also if you struggle to move through our layers of resistance. If that support person is a conveyer in the belief of our ability, then those are the beginning steps to my independence.
- Our devices are our voices, but our needs change as our ability to type increases. This means we may need to change these devices as movement patterns change, or hand growth, or if visual issues change. I cannot say that one device will be everything for anyone for all time.
- It is so necessary to have the ability to help with movement issues and be able to create the dance between feeling the encouragement and the need to move to less support. To do this, we must feel connected to the body, to our own unique rhythms within our body systems. Having an occupational therapist or physical therapist who knows how to help regulate these patterns, can help calm anxieties and to organize the body. That will help give parameters to arms and hands and fingers to encourage confidence to push for letters for oneself.
It is like the movement of pumping on the swing, once the movement of the legs has created the speed, the arc of movement carries through on its own. Attempting new movement with typing it becomes necessary to understand that this connection takes time for the new pattern to be strong.
- To help this, then sensory issues that need to be integrated are necessary. Platform swinging, infinity walking, bilateral hand exercises, therapeutic listening programs, and neurological drumming therapies are all helpful.
I know that I do all of these, and yet they are excellent for my own self, but I cannot say they will help everyone, but surely it must be a thoughtful consideration as a paramount need. This might rope in the rearing-up of progress in a refusal of the brain to learn a new pattern.
- As the flow of typing begins to gain ground, ask the user if it is now possible to move up the arm. To move from wrist to elbow is fairly easy, but to move from elbow to the shoulder was more difficult for me. Here is where I needed someone who fully understands movement issues.
When asking to let go of support, it is quite possible that the language complexity may become less. I am not a fan of simple work, however, in accessing the movement more independently, it takes greater concentration to plan that movement and for me, it meant it took me longer then to retrieve the word.
I think asking the typer to practice a word that brings joy to them is helpful and ask them for only one word at first. In this I mean asking for more independence should not be done under any type of stressful situation, but in a relaxed and fun demonstration. Being successful with one word can help you to move to the next, and it is of absolute necessity to feel this confidence in your own ability.
It may take a lot of practice, as working to independence means that the reaping of that goal means less connection with your communication partners, and that may cause other emotions to be processed which may get other behaviors to get riled up.
- Once the flow of thoughts to keyboard is both easy and developed, understand you simply must use this as you would use your voice. It is never a voice to keep in the carrying bag kept in your closet. It is a real method that truly opens the door to engage this process of living life vitally.