Sunday, July 28, 2013

TAGteacher Tale: Stranger on the Train - A Tale of Compassion (Part 2)

Here is part 2 of Mara Windstar's tagging session with a stranger she met on the train - pretty racy stuff!

If you missed part 1 click here.

By Mara Windstar

This morning (Monday June 3, 2013) was the second TAGteach session with my new friend, for the process of learning ways in which he can get his needs met when traveling on the MAX train. This goal includes asking for a place to sit if there are no seats available.

Today's session was focused on him identifying how he might ask for a seat in a way that would be comfortable and natural for him. From my experience, this can be very difficult to come up with out of the blue for quite a few people. The TAGteach approach I took was different than I had done before.

Choosing the Tag Point

He decided what the tag point would be, and he would be the one to tag me verbalizing various requests for asking if I could have a seat.

He identified the tag point as: what I'm hearing is what I could say. (his interpretation was "that one!")

My goal was for him to be looking for how he wanted to express himself, as opposed to thinking "I would never say that!"

After 12 tags, he had a couple of key words that he could start with.

These included variations of...

Keywords that would work form him: anyone, offer, safety/prevent.

"is there anyone that could offer their seat for me please, to prevent a fall?"

"Thank you!!"

He was very excited about this. The key factor that he found working for him was "anyone". Asking a particular person felt very rejecting to him if it didn't work, and could easily trigger a response similar to the one that preceded our working on this. Also, eye contact can be very difficult, so he could pan a bit to look at people vs. eye contact with one specific person.

Practicing in a Real-Life Situation

Sequence 1

We met again this morning and boarded and exited the MAX numerous times. Our sequence went as follows:

1. Mara's chair parked in wheelchair location and Mara sitting on the aisle side seat in front of her chair.

2. Person asks if anyone could offer a seat, I responded confirming I could do that, and I moved into my chair.

3. Person thanked me for the offer.

4. We did this with the 2 configurations within the area for seniors and people with disabilities.

Sequences 2-4

Sequence 2, 3 and 4. with person boarding at different MAX train stops.

1. Mara seated in powerchair in designated area.

2. Person enters and asks "Could anyone please offer their seat for my needs?"

3. someone offered. and stood up

4. Person Thanked them for allowing him to prevent a fall!

Sequence 5

1. Mara seated in powerchair in designated area.

2. Person enters and goes to an area that is not in the accessible designated area and asks "Could anyone please offer their seat so I don't fall?)

3. someone offered. and stood up

4. Person Thanked them for allowing him to prevent a fall!

Going Solo

We made our way several miles and back. He feels he is ready to solo and is going to let me know how it goes. He also commented that he spoke to a person on the train on the last ride, which I also saw from a distance. He's never spoken to anyone on the train before, he's just been too uncomfortable!

These are exactly the kind of things that have been helpful for me to bridge outside of myself in conversations that I otherwise worried about.

Confidence really breaks down barriers... within ourselves.

Every day a new experience.

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