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Old 11-15-2007, 06:15 PM
Borodog Borodog is offline
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Default I Met a Backwards Man

As some may recall, I teach dance in my spare time. A few weeks back I was filling in for someone, teaching an East Coast Swing class. One of the students was a very nice elderly black man, maybe 65 years old. I had been warned that he was having extreme problems, and was very slow in his progress.

When I taught the class, the warning was confirmed. Interestingly, in the process of teaching a move called a belt turn, I discovered why. In the belt turn the leader turns to his left, counterclockwise if you were looking down from above. I had emphasized this repeatedly as I taught the pattern. But he consistently turned to his right instead.

When I pointed out the problem (not that uncommon), he became flustered. He insisted that I had said to turn to his left. I said that I did, but that he was turning to his right. He insisted that he was not. I showed him the direction of the turn while standing next to him, and he said, "Yeah, that's to the right."

Now, at first I thought this was just some bizarre naming convention, like he's thinking that if his right hand is coming forward, then that's a "right hand" turn. But no! Half jokingly I asked, "So which is your right hand?"

He raised his left hand.

Now at this pint I am pretty nonplussed, and class is getting behind. But I turned and stood in front of him and raised my right hand and asked, "Which hand is this?" He correctly identified it as my right hand. I asked him to raise his right hand, and he again raised his left.

Then I stood next to him, on his right (his real right), facing the same direction as he was, and raised my left hand, and asked him which hand it was. He siad "Right, of course."

At this point, I had to get back to class, and he seemed to be getting insulted, so I just told him to turn to his right in the belt turn, and got back to class.

The reason that I bring this up now is that I have to cover that class again tonight, and I remembered this gentleman. It has occurred to me that this cannot possibly be something that has always been like this, or he would know that he had some sort of problem. This seems like there must be some sort of recent event, possibly a small stroke or something, that has brought this on.

Should I say something to the guy?

Also, this very much reminded me of "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat."
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  #2  
Old 11-15-2007, 06:37 PM
bbbaddd bbbaddd is offline
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Default Re: I Met a Backwards Man

It might be kind of a sensitive subject, esp. if he seemed to be aggravated when you mentioned the problem in the previous class. Does anyone drive him there or come with him? It might be best to let someone close to him know.
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Old 11-15-2007, 06:45 PM
DougShrapnel DougShrapnel is offline
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Default Re: I Met a Backwards Man

It might be best to let someone close to him know. I'm not a doctor but a stroke sounds about right.
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Old 11-15-2007, 06:45 PM
Borodog Borodog is offline
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Default Re: I Met a Backwards Man

I think his wife was with him. Good point.

Thanks.
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  #5  
Old 11-15-2007, 06:46 PM
Brad1970 Brad1970 is offline
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Default Re: I Met a Backwards Man

[ QUOTE ]
This seems like there must be some sort of recent event, possibly a small stroke or something, that has brought this on.

[/ QUOTE ]

Could be that or dementia.
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  #6  
Old 11-15-2007, 06:57 PM
Splendour Splendour is offline
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Default Re: I Met a Backwards Man

He might be dyslexic.

See: http://ask.metafilter.com/39271/Whic...is-my-left-one
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Old 11-15-2007, 06:58 PM
Nielsio Nielsio is offline
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Default Re: I Met a Backwards Man

Maybe you had it wrong.

[img]/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img]
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  #8  
Old 11-15-2007, 06:58 PM
Neuge Neuge is offline
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Default Re: I Met a Backwards Man

Do the hokey pokey at your next class and see what happens.
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Old 11-15-2007, 07:02 PM
Neuge Neuge is offline
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Default Re: I Met a Backwards Man

Seriously though, this is a known sign of learning disability in children (it's called right-left discrimination). If he hasn't always been this way, it could easily be a neurological problem.
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  #10  
Old 11-15-2007, 10:53 PM
LondonBroil LondonBroil is offline
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Default Re: I Met a Backwards Man

[ QUOTE ]
I think his wife was with him. Good point.

Thanks.

[/ QUOTE ]

Letting his wife know is probably the left way to deal with it.
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