Monday, March 24, 2008

"Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time...

...that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught." -Oscar Wilde
The observation and clinic hours that we do in my program are so important for that very reason: there is only so much that a person can learn sitting in a classroom looking at a PowerPoint presentation. For example, the other day I observed a 7o-something year old man who was a dentist for many years. This man had suffered a stroke which left him with aphasia. This condition did not affect his intelligence, but his ability to process words was slowed. He has trouble finding words in conversation. For example, if he wanted to say the word "camera", he might say, "The thing that takes a picture, you know..." because he cannot think of the word "camera." His therapy session consisted of having a conversation with my supervisor. I was a little confused and later asked my supervisor about it. She told me that she didn't want to do word drills with him in front of me because it might embarrass him, so she engaged him in conversation and kept a mental tally of how many times he needed help finding a word. She said that marking down errors on paper makes the client feel like they're being tested or something, and that it's just not necessary. There are two lessons right there: treat clients with respect, and try to make as few notes during the session as possible to avoid making them feel self-conscious. I feel like I learned more practical knowledge in that one hour than I do during many classes.
Now I should scoot to the living room, as our new puppy may be wanted to do some oral-motor exercises soon ;)