The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

1-2-3-4-5-6-7 Senses Working Overtime

A wonderful addition to our Flatbush commercial corridor

Did you learn, as did I, that we have 5 senses? To learn otherwise is like a shock to the senses. All 7 of them.

This is one of the things confirmed to me by the excellent Occupational Therapist Beatrice Hector, or Miss Bea, who's shop Sensory Street has greatly enlivened the eastern side of the Flabenue betwixt Parkside and Winthrop - a block, I must say, that's always been a feast for the senses. It's still pretty hectic, but Bea's presence has been terrific, and you should probably know what she does, and the results she can achieve, particularly if you or someone you know has kids (or older adults!) struggling to keep up in one or more areas of physicality. A lot of these sorts of early (or late!) interventions can be covered by insurances or school programs, so by all means stop in for a consultation. Bea grew up right here (on Crooke!) and has the fondest of memories of hanging with her Crooke Girls, going to PS92 and MS61, and later off to Howard University, where she and classmates regularly shaked and baked to a certain Sean Combs, the BMOC at Howard at the time who was nursing some silly aspirations about hitting the big time in the entertainment business. (Did you know he was a Howard man? His parties were legendary, and he dropped out after two years, but he WAS a business major. The name puff came from how he'd huff and puff when he got mad as a kid. Huh. And I always thought it was something else. But then I thought that about Puff the Magic Dragon, too, and PP&M are steadfast in their claim that it has NOTHING to do with cheeba cheeb. Or grass. Or reefer. Or whatever the kids are calling it these days.)

It occurs to me as I age, and as I watch my parents age, that there are a host of activities that we once took for granted that are no longer so easy to, for instance, tackle. For me (and it's not just my weight - I've been this big since college and was medium-okay at playing ball), running, jumping, falling, skating, spelunking, rock climbing, tether-ball, skeet shooting, swashbuckling and Chinese Checkers have all become more difficult and potentially dangerous. Seriously, how many of us are forced to confront the reality of a loved-one's ailing health only after they suffer a severe tumble, often while doing something as basic as walking to the kitchen? That just happened to my aunt, and it was likely her sense of balance and her sense of her body in space that led to her, ahem, downfall. It wasn't pretty, and thank goodness her brother (me Pa) bothered to stop by unannounced. Think about it - as we age, our hearing and sight are likely to decline. So why not assume the other 3? Or rather, 5? Actually, DO assume the others.

Besides touch, smell and taste, what are those others? Why the Vestibular, and Proprioception senses, of course. (Vest and Prope, as I like to call them)
The vestibular system explains the perception of our body in relation to gravity, movement and balance. The vestibular system measures acceleration, g-force, body movements and head position.  Examples of the vestibular system in practice include knowing that you are moving when you are in an elevator, knowing whether you are lying down or sat up, and being able to walk along a balance beam.

Proprioception is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement.  This sense is very important as it lets us know exactly where our body parts are, how we are positioned in space and to plan our movements.  Examples of our proprioception in practice include being able to clap our hands together with our eyes closed, write with a pencil and apply with correct pressure, and navigate through a narrow space.
How's YOUR vest and prope? For some, these senses are developed early in childhood and happen right on or close to schedule. Sometimes, as with so many other milestones, something goes awry. It's often not such a big deal, but a solid early intervention can make a world of difference. Say your kid doesn't seem able to jump or grasp things. Have 'em checked out, just like you would their sight. Bea's job is to exercise those behaviors in a fun and shame-free environment, important because it's the very fact of doing something over and over that gets abandoned by a kid who feels they can't do something. And that's an unable-to-catch-22, in the awkward parlance of the Q.

So...Bea's cool. Her space is awesome. She's doing an art show of the students soon (the Q will let you know). And she's planning Open Gym sessions on third Saturdays, and she does have a nice safe area for young ones to tumble and play. Let's wish her a long run, shall we? A safe, coordinated run, that leads to a higher quality of life, and the ability to catch buses just as they're about to leave the stop. The Q, I'm sad to say, has stopped running for buses.

No comments: