Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely our own and not necessarily those of our employer or any other occupational therapist.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Engaging in occupation through adversity.......

Last evening I sat down to watch the Proms at the BBC - a performance of  Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2 - one of my favourite pieces (think - "Brief Encounter" ). The piano soloist was an extraordinary young Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii, whose blindness is no barrier to his musical talent. In his interview trailer before the performance he explained how he listens for the conductor's breathing in order to reach his cues and work together with the orchestra and uses muscle memory and touch and sound to learn the pieces rather than use Braille. A fantastic performance was given and then followed by an encore of  Liszt’s La Campanella - one of the hardest pieces to play and clearly a bit of well deserved showing off ensued.

 This reminded me of recent stories I had seen on Facebook or on the BBC news that seemed to all form part of a theme. How people continue to engage in meaningful occupations (whether for leisure or productivity) whilst experiencing illness or disability. It often amazes me how people overcome obstacles when they decide they are going to engage in an activity - and how the people around them enable and support them in any way they can by adapting behaviour and/or the environment. By doing this they often challenge the perceptions of others as to what is possible and can act as an inspiration to others by being their own occupational therapist.

Please see the videos below for some truly inspirational stories and ones that have great resonance for occupational therapists..........................

18 years ago a slight lapse in concentration crushed Pascale's dreams of surfing. With the help of a family friend and a roll of duct tape; she can now call herself a surfer.

 A Son asked his father, "Dad, will you take part in a marathon with me?" The father who, despite having a heart condition, says "Yes". They went on to complete the marathon together. Father and son went on to join other marathons. The father always saying "Yes" to his son's request of going through the race together. One day, the son asked his father, "Dad, let's join the Ironman together."

To which, his father said "Yes".

For those who don't know, Ironman is the toughest triathlon ever. The race encompasses three endurance events of a 2.4 mile (3.86 kilometer) ocean swim, followed by a 112 mile (180.2 kilometer) bike ride and ending with a 26.2 mile (42.195 kilometer) marathon along the coast of the Big Island.

Father and son went on to complete the race together!

An Isle of Wight teenager with cerebral palsy has completed a solo journey across the channel.
Natasha Lambert, 16, was born with atheroid cerebral palsy which affects her limbs and speech.
Her 21ft-long (6.4m) boat, Miss Isle Too, has been adapted by her father, Gary, and allows her to steer by sucking and blowing into a tube.

I wonder if these stories say as much about the families who support them as it does about the person themselves. Might this mean that those individuals experiencing occupational deprivation through disability and/or illness who do not have supportive family may be disadvantaged? It would be great to hear of your experiences if you would like to share. Thankyou.


Nobuyuki Tsujii international fans site owner said...

Hi, I just came upon your blog post today (July 24) while searching for news of Nobuyuki Tsujii ("Nobu") - I run an unofficial website for his international fans http://sites.google.com/site/nobufans/

It really moves me that so many in the U.K. have come to appreciate this remarkable young man, who has brightened my life ever since I took note of him at the Cliburn Piano Competition. Not only did he open a door for me to a new dimension of musical beauty, but he opened my eyes to a new perspective in life.

We all have to overcome adversities in our lives, but some do so in a more remarkable fashion than most. My hat is off to those mentioned in your post. In the case of Nobu, I hope people in U.K. will agree that his musicality shines bright, regardless of his blindness.

Nobuyuki Tsujii international fans site owner said...

Hi, again,
In response to your last paragraph, I want to say that in the case of Nobuyuki Tsujii, it is true that his extraordinary talent would not have blossomed without the nuturing of his wise parents and the support of many mentors.

In 2010, I posted this article, "It takes a village" - it is very amateurish, but you can read about the people and the support that contributed to Nobu's success.


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