It took some work (and forcing ourselves to stay up past 8), but we got through week 1! Everyone seems very interested in the materials we have prepared, and a few people have contacted the MTI office here to say what a good job we've done- that definitely encourages us to keep working!
Yesterday was more emotionally exhausting than anything, as caregivers were starting to bring us kids with very severe disabilities that we are unable to do much about at this point (e.g. 17 year old with scoliosis and seizure disorder). Sometimes we wish we had an MRI to know exactly what is going on inside kid's brains... Also, a neurologist to do seizure management would be great- right now they just heavily sedate the kids as soon as they have a seizure. Then the caregivers are surprised that the kids can't move for the next 3 days... Torri emphasized the need for being aware of kid's sensory needs so that we can at least keep them comfortable. So far I don't feel like I'm getting far, but I have explained that I will go into a lot more detail next week, so hopefully that will help.
This morning we got to work with one of the most outgoing kids we've seen yet:) He is 8 and understands both Russian and Uzbek, and has devised quite a system of sign language since he is non-verbal. Stephanie got him up and walking while Torri took video tape- later (for motivation to keep working), Torri showed him the video. We can't even put into words how awesome it was when he realized that he was watching HIMSELF on "tv"- he pointed out everyone he could see in the video and laughed and shrieked the whole time. The whole room started laughing and was happy to see such emotion! We wish we had been able to take video of that moment as well:)
At the end of the day, caregivers started asking about body mechanics for themselves when lifting children because ALL of their backs hurt! We had an impromptu body mechanics lesson, followed by strengthening and stretching. The women started asking for ways they could strengthen their own muscles (especially their abs- apparently it's a worldwide obsession). We found it interesting that until now none of them had even thought about doing any sort of exercise at all- women don't have any opportunities to exercise here (other than dancing). But, when we mentioned the idea of creating a 10 minute strengthening set the women could do at work, they all seemed interested. So, looks like we'll be leading them in exercises, too:)
One of the things that has struck us the most thus far is how invested the caregivers are in our teachings. They are always asking questions and want to try the techniques we have taught. Today they even let Stephanie demonstrate facilitation techniques on their bodies. It's very encouraging to see their positive response and know that we really are here for a reason.
We're off to Samarkand for the weekend, an Uzbek tourist destination- time for some sightseeing and shopping!
Stephanie and Torri