After successfully completing my first physical project that gave me a tangible business card to feel in my hand…and then the fold out flyer, it was on to the next project.
Katrine suggested that an A3 Poster that would act as a porthole for people to the BLOG site and could be displayed in locations that would catch the eye of people that may benefit from the BLOG site and the information. Hospitals and Rehabilitation Units were the first places that came to mind, followed by Nursing Homes where there would be a significantly higher amount of people managing major disabilities and the challenges that this brings to their lives and their families lives. Community Health Centres and also public places (eg, my rehabilitation pool and shopping centre) could also be useful if permission was given to hang the poster.
At the time of this project hatching, Katrine announced that in May 2013, the Speech Pathology National Conference would be held on the Gold Coast and this may be an opportunity to display the poster to Speech Pathologists at the conference and to report information that is significant to my rehabilitation story and the key ingredients that has made it successful. The aim of this would be that this may then be considered by treating professionals to either sculpt or add into their current methods of practice. This leg of the journey was led by Katrine and was directed to the audience of Speech Pathologists.
Below is the submission that was given to the conference committee to display the poster. If someone had said I would have been doing something like this 4 years ago, I would have laughed in disbelief. The thought of compiling this information and then the confidence to stand next to the poster at the Conference would have been so emotionally derailing. This project let me see how far I have come and really pushed our limits in regards to becoming clear about what it was we were writing about with the BLOG site and what our direction was to be from here. We were happy with the submission after the month of work to fine tune our ideas. In another BLOG, Poster Research Information includes the details in our discussions that lead to reducing it down to 300 word submission…that was hard but I left that in Katrine’s hands being the apprentice on this one!
Unfortunately in December 2012, we gained notice that due to a high number of presentations that were in the same category that the poster was not selected which came with great disappointment to both of us, given the information and support it could have provided. We both picked up our chins and decided we would complete the task anyhow as the worth was in reaching the individuals needing the support. Maybe the submission paper just made us get on with it for it’s intended purpose.
About the Authors:
Katrine Elliott is an experienced private practitioner who has 20 years of clinical practice in her Speech Pathology company, Optimal Communications, on the Gold Coast, Australia. Katrine commenced supporting Peter Blundy, managing “locked-in-syndrome” 16 years ago following transfer to his home on the Gold Coast from acute rehabilitation at PA Hospital. The collaborative and committed client-therapist relationship over a long term perspective has been essential to the establishment of the “tertiary stage rehabilitation” project that has grown from the accumulative years of experience that is shared between the two individuals with two difference perspectives and roles. Founded on the interaction and authentic friendship of two people who embarked on a
journey not usually taken but was critical to the development and unveiling of the BLOG entity that it would become today “No Limits-No Boundaries”. Katrine and Peter both believe that “this project chose us…and we just wrote it down”.
A long term “patient-therapist” relationship between Peter Blundy and Katrine Elliott, Speech Pathologist, led to the development of a “tertiary stage rehabilitation program” funded by the Defence Department (Navy) for psycho-social benefits with goals for improving Peter’s quality of life. The additional benefits for Peter and others now through the global market have been immense.
Peter manages a major physical disability as a quadriplegic with “Locked-In-Syndrome” after sustaining a severe head-injury from falling from a breaking balcony. Peter was “locked inside” his physical body for 2 years with no more than an eye blink to communicate until he was given alternative communication methods to enable one-on-one communication whilst undergoing years of intensive dysarthria therapy.
The project involved maximising Peter’s existing physical and intellectual assets to engineer a BLOG website aptly titled http://www.peterblundy.com/.
The process of this project has changed Peter to be the man he is today…living a life feeling complete with a valued purpose to offer the global community.
The project has pointed the focus of intervention towards not just “HOW” he says it but “WHAT” he has to say. The process of collaborative dialogue therapy between Katrine and Peter communicating themes and understandings along their journey together has been collated into the e-book… “21 Reasons Why You Want To Be Me.”
“No Limits-No Boundary”
Was “locked-in” but “now Peter communicates “globally”.
Poster Presented by Katrine Elliott and Peter Blundy
Major injuries and illness causing significant physical and communication disabilities require more support than a term of rehabilitation involving speech therapy amongst those services. The process towards rebuilding a life requiring professional support can be years to life long. How this is managed can have a significant impact on individuals and their family’s ability to cope with the handicaps to living and in the acceptance towards a life that is staggeringly different to what may have been originally planned. Comprehensive and inclusive support involving the development of skills for physical, social, communicational, emotional, psychological and spiritual capacities are warranted to assist an individual to progress towards an integrated self that is able to function at their highest level given the personal assets that remain.
This may require significant advocacy and support from the professional team, including Speech Pathologists, to lobby to gain the support to achieve this. As trained experts in problem solving and facilitating individual to function with significant disabilities, it is our role to educate medical teams that our expertise is not just limited to rehabilitating “speech verbally” but to support the individual to integrate their remaining capacities to re-build a life at its most optimal level. It is then that individuals feel valued and respected people… not what is often experienced as damaged and wasted members of our society leading to co-existing challenges with mental health, self worth and happiness. When this support is provided… It is then that the soul can also have a chance to heal. Think of it like this….
That puzzle broke apart and some puzzle pieces became permanently damaged and unable to be used again to recreate that image.
The puzzle felt incomplete and broken.
Accepting that these puzzle pieces are lost forever enabled rebuilding towards a new puzzle design maximising the pieces that remained.
The surprise was to find that on removing the damaged pieces…there were hidden puzzle pieces lying dormant-never used waiting to be activated and integrated into the image of the new puzzle-self.
Not worse-but now completely unique.
The tertiary stage rehabilitation project has achieved goals of:
- exploring, excavating and integrating psychological and emotional parts of Peter, himself, to generate BLOG content that is useful for his global audience
- learning web based IT platforms and skills,
- expressing information in written format,
- stretching higher order executive functions in managing the scale of the project,
- integrating a team for a beneficial and relevant purpose.
The development of Peter Blundy’s BLOG website-“No Limits-No Boundaries” (http://www.peterblundy.com/) has enabled Peter himself to take this journey of integrating his assets to find a functioning purpose in the global community. He gains also in positive feelings of giving back for all his support over the years by helping others in similar circumstances managing major life- long disabilities and to help them to find hope and to reach for a life worth living for…and then to find who they really ARE….and what they can DO…or BECOME.
Written by Katrine Elliott-Speech Pathologist (Sept 2012)