No announcement yet.

Teaching future teachers about SCI

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Teaching future teachers about SCI

    I finally have a chance to enrich a small bit of knowledge and break misconceptions about SCI in my "how to teach health and safety" elementary education class. The problem is whatever we teach has to meet the North Carolina standard course of study objectives. The objective states (6th grade health cirriculum):
    Competency Goal 3 - The learner will interpret health risks for self and others and corresponding protection measures.
    3.02 Identify practices that prevent spinal cord injury.
    So I HAVE TO address how to prevent spinal cord injuries. That's actually what I'm suppose to teach/talk about, but I told my teacher that things like that are so repeatitive and nobody really listens (i.e. w ear a seat belt, dont drink and drive, etc...). I'd really like for them to obtain a better understanding of SCI and how it is.
    Because our time is very limited to approx. 10mins. I cant just teach about it. She wants us to do an activity where the students are involved and the teacher doesnt really talk. The "students" are actually my classmates who are also going to be elementary teachers.
    I really really want to bring in my spare old wheelchair and another one if I can get ahold of one for them to do relays with. My teacher wants me to make pamphlets about SCI so that I am teaching them preventive ways, but I also can include other knowledge about SCI. Such as not sweating below level of injury->heat stroke if you leave a child out too long that is SCI, level of injury issues, multi-tasking with hands and how to offer alternatives in their P.E. activies (cant have a child in a w/c compete trying to carry balls and push himself, hills, difficulty in transfers, moving objects out of the way in classrooms etc...

    Do you think the relay idea is an ok one or should I do another type of activity such as everyone gets a banana which symbolizes their spinal cord. Have them to leave it unpeeled and tap on the banana which simulates the "accident". Notice how the outside of the banana is unchanged, it will only turn brown saying it's bruised but the inside is dented/damaged which would be all of the "nerves" and connections in the spinal cord. The banana isnt cut, the nerves are just messed up which is the result of a spinal cord injury.

    If the relay activity sounds like it would be good to do in 10mins in the classroom, what kinds of activities could I have the class doing in groups of 2-3. There are 26-27 students in my class so 3 groups would work better than 2 if I am able to get enough extra wheelchairs. Either way I would like about 15 different activies that I could assign them to do in their groups.
    1. first person in line has to go open the classroom door (it opens inward into the class so that will be harder than making them close the door. They can get a small idea of how it's hard to juggle a moving wheelchair and tyring to open a door). Make them stick a sticker on the outside of the door as they open it with their team number on the sticker then close the door so the next team has to do the same task.

    2. carry an empty 2 liter bottle of drink across the room and bring it back in a wheelchair.

    3. give them a pocketbook since all girls are used to carrying them and then seeing the challenge of trying to carry your personal items in an everyday thing you take for granted.

    4. write something as high as they can on the chalk board to realize it's hard to reach up high where everyone can see it.

    5. Have one sit indian style on the floor so they are less likely to use their legs and then try to get back into their wheelchair.



    ****** NOTE *********
    Come up with simple tasks b/c any type of materials you name I HAVE TO BRING IT TO CLASS. I cant carry my whole house in so the less or no materials you can come up with in activities the better it is for me and more likely I will incorporate it.


    You're probably going to laugh at this...but here's one thing that frustrates me that maybe you could have them try....

    I always get frustrated at serve yourself dinner functions or restaraunts. Once the plate of food is in my lap, I have to wheel slowly to make sure that I don't spill it everywhere. Throw in a glass of tea or water..and forget about it. One handed wheeling is difficult. Get a cup of water and maybe a paper plate with torn-up paper in it and try to get them to go across the room. Just a thought. [img]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]

    "Another day that I can't find my head...My feet don't look like they're my own...I'll try and find the floor below to stand...I hope I reach it once again" ~Norah Jones
    "Your love is just the antidote when nothing else will cure me" ~Sarah McLachlan


      No, that's a good suggestion. I've been in that boat before. Here's what I do now:
      if the resturant has trays they are awesome! The tray balances perfectly on my lap and I can put my plate of food on that and not worry about it. For drinks: if you have the fixed footplate type of manual chair like I do, but the cup inbetween your two feet. It's balanced b/c the footplate is straight, your 2 feet secure it in on the sides, and it's less to worry about. If you do spill it you atleast dont have to worry about your entire lap plus cushion getting wet and looking like you just peed all over yourself.

      They'd never figure out these techniques in the 10min time b/c it takes being in a chair awhile to realize what works better.

      I'm also not as sure if I'm as an eager beaver as I thought to present this activity in a short 10min amount of time. It's so much stuff I'd like to say but I cant b/c they have to do the activity. Then the activity is only in a small classroom cluttered with tables so I cant move them out of my way a great deal to make more obstacles. I may wait to do the activity later this month when we get to do a health fair type of situation or not to it at all.
      Thanks for the suggestion though!


        You could have them cath. hehhehe. Sweeping or mopping or simulate carrying pot of boiling h2o like when making pasta. These are things that surprised me with dificulty.



          See if you can run down someone from the "Feet First" program for ideas, brochures and possibly the film I understand they use. Feet First started in Florida and involves pools, oceans and especially lakes.

          Maybe have some of the guys line up and try to get into a stall in the bathroom while in the chair. Then they'll understand why gals in chairs normally take longer (guys tend to give up and pee (cath) into the sink...). [img]/forum/images/smilies/eek.gif[/img]

          Can you get just one curb jump practice box? The lowest one is only an inch and that alone will blow their minds and open their eyes to why curb cuts are essential. If there is a rehab hospital or PT practice near you they may haul a few things over for aids for your class time.

          WTG though on getting to do this! Oh, and my first outpatient PT's first SCI patient was a 15 year old who was so excited his football team won a game he rammed his still helmeted head into a goalpost. Complete C5 afterwards. And one of the guys in my inpatient rehab was also a 15 year old C5. He was at a Babe Ruth championship game and slid into home plate head first. There are reasons sports have rules. Kids think the rules are just to make the games complicated---NOT.

          Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."
          Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

          Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.


            Sue and Joe all the things you named is what I'd love to do, but remember I only have 10minutes. Everyone wont have enough time to do something, especially when I have to explain what I'm suppose to teach in the first place which is preventive measures to not get a spinal cord injury.
            I was on the same path as you guys were about putting them in chairs and having them do some of this stuff, but I cant get it all in in 10min. Plus, all the manipulatives such as a curb cut practice box I cant haul to class.
            The activity has to be done in the classroom so as much as I'd like to take them out to the restroom, outdoors to show how small looking hills to them are like mountains to us, get rid of the "they get the best parking" stereotype (sure it might be upfront but on my campus it doesnt matter b/c next comes the great hill you get to push up), transfers even floor to chair transfers, and etc... It's impossible for me to get a chance to do these things with these folks. Only if I had one whole class period to talk about mobility disablities I'd be set, but that isnt an option.

            As of right now I plan on having them list ways a person can obtain an SCI. Then ways they couldve prevented it. Hopefully run off some of my pics on an overhead transperency to show a standing frame, handcycle, FES bike, and etc.. Talk about daily tasks and difficulties. My 10 minutes will be way up by the time I try to wrap it up. I plan on passing out a pamphlet about SCI and copies from the Disablity Etiquette handbook made by the Eastern Paralyzed Veterns on mobility disablities. Afterwards I hope I will have accomplished more understanding and breaking the barrier b/t me versus them. Let them ask me any questions during the "educational" experience.


              Sweetieheart,Preventative measures seems like a very tough topic. mainly because,SCIs seem to result from some sort of a freak accident. Somthing that you've done thousands of times before, or somthing that looks safe or is suposed to be safe enough. This time one tiny thing went wrong. I battle with this when it coms to my daughter. Wht do I say? Don't climb on that, ride in a car, ride that bike, play sports, swim in that pool, ect, ect. Don't live life to its fullest, because somthing bad might happen. Sure you can tell them about the obvious, but how many of us was injured doing somthing that would obviously end up in a SCI.
              As much as I don't like it sometime I feel like my SCI was an inevitable result of my zest for life. Good luck with your presentation. I hope you figure it out.



                The "Feet First" Program has been reformated as the "Think First" Program, and now is under the auspices of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. The program name is trademarked now. In addition to films, they have a number of other educational resources that would be helpful to teachers of both elementary and teenaged groups.

                Here is some contact information:


                When we present to active duty Marines (we are a "Think First" affiliate program), we have our speakers with SCI show a few slides of themselves while AB (usually in uniform) then a few actually have a slide or two of their accident scene (often these can be obtained from the police), and then they talk about their lives. The 500 or so Marines attending pay the closest attention when our speakers get out a clean catheter and have the group guess what it is used for (usually wrong) or show them their Caverject kit (same reaction)!!!!

                The emphasis of our program is not to NOT engage in sports, driving or other activities, but to do them with the proper safety precautions (helmets, seatbelts, use of appropriate safety precautions for sports, etc.) AND to do them unimpaired (ie, only when they have not been drinking or doing drugs). You don't tell a Marine not to do something, but when they hear SCI injured Marines talk about the possible financial consequence of being non-service connected for their SCI due to "willful misobedience" (military lingo for not using appropriate safety precautions or being impaired while doing so), they do listen to this as well. A special group, I know, but just some tips from experience.

                The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


                  Of course you have to speak about prevention, and also then about understanding and compassion. A fast exercise is to line up some chairs and have people hold their feet up off the floor and move from one chair to the next transfer style. If they plant a foot down they go back to the beginning. Fast and effective! Keep you talk simple, and allow for questions later. Good luck!


                    Thanks for the new program info, KLD. Sounds like it's more intensive than the original program. Now if we could just stop the injuries caused by bullets, mines and mortars..

                    Sweetie you'll do fine. If there is a lot of interest you may get an encore later. [img]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]

                    And yes, none of us plan this stuff but much can be prevented. One of my friends dove into a small lake. Same lake he'd been diving in for many summers past. His friend had dove into the same place right before him--no problem. Unfortunantly lakes tend to murky and someone parked a car in there over the winter. His friend must have mmissed it by a few inches. He hit head on and 30 years later is still a C-4. [img]/forum/images/smilies/frown.gif[/img]

                    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."
                    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

                    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.