Tuesday, April 10, 2012

TAGteacher Tale: TAGteach for Physiotherapy After Brain Surgery

By Lynette Cole

I never thought of myself as being a TAGteacher.  I work with my rescue dogs to give them good manners before they are adopted so I have always thought of myself as an amateur clicker trainer.  In October of 2011 my husband had brain surgery.  This was not his first but it was his most difficult.  Because of balance issues before surgery a physical therapist was sent to evaluate and work with him after surgery.  Everything seemed to be good except for dragging the toes on his right foot.  The therapist and I were walking him around the hospital floor.  She had to keep reminding him to lift the toes on his right foot so they would not drag.  I had been exposed to TAGteach at 3 previous Clicker Expos.  About halfway around the floor it came to me that I could fix this!  I had never done this before but knew it would work.  I told them I would be right back and ran to his room.  I retrieved my clicker from my purse and caught up with them at almost the same spot.  He and I had talked about clicker training and TAGteach.  I told him “The tag point is toes up.”  The physical therapist looked at me a little funny so I told her he understood what I said and repeated it to him.  As we started to complete the trip back to his room I tagged him for the correct toe position.  I felt like this would teach his brain and foot what the new normal was.  When we returned to his room I started to explain what I was doing to his physical therapist.  I had my laptop with me so I found the YouTube video Joan Orr had submitted about teaching a little girl to high jump.  She watched it and seemed interested.  The next day the three of us did the walk again.  This time I only had to repeat the tag point once and tag about 3 times as we got close to his room.  The therapist seemed impressed.  When he was discharged physical therapy said he was doing too well and they could not do anything more for him.  When we returned home he had an order for physical therapy in case things came up they had not seen.  He was evaluated by the therapist in our hometown and was told the same thing.  “We cannot do anything for you.  You are doing too well.”  He has not had this problem since.  We could not be happier with the outcome.

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