Welcome to Parking Suns – A Life with Parkinson’s Disease!
My name is Bruce Ballard. I am 64 years old and a Professional Development Specialist at the Bronx Charter School for Better Learning. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in 2012, although I’d been living with the symptoms for a few years before that.
I started this blog after reading an article on the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Facebook page. The Fox web article (which, coincidentally, was published on Feb. 6, my birthday) included this sentence: “Research suggests that writing, and editing, our own stories may help reduce stress and boost health.”
After I started this blog, I became enthusiastic about the positive role that “enriched environment” can play in the lives of people with PD. So my blog aims to provide just that, focusing to a great extent on writing (including poetry), physical exercise, nutrition, art, music, humor, and research.
So click around and let me know what you think! You can leave a message in the comments section below, or at the bottom of any blog post or other page.
A little more about me:
Although I was born in New York City, much of my life has been international. May I check off the countries?
- Mexico: attended high school for three years in Mexico City. ¡Olé!
- The Netherlands: worked in Amsterdam as a summer intern while in college.
- Kenya: served two months as a volunteer on a village project to build a maternity ward. Best coffee ever.
- South Korea: taught English and trained teachers for five years, three of them as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
- Japan: directed a university Intensive English Program for three years in Japan’s snow country.
- Canada: competed in the 1990 Gay Games. Didn’t win any races but came home with some swell T-shirts.
- Mongolia: directed a Peace Corps pre-service training program for four months.
- The Marshall Islands: same as Mongolia, only warmer weather.
- Singapore, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Brazil, France: took many business trips to these countries to teach corporate writing courses, train teachers, and teach languages.
- Tanzania: climbed to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro shortly after my 50th birthday.
- Spain, the Philippines, Macau, Costa Rica, Australia, England, Indonesia: strictly vacations.
I’ve devoted most of my professional life to studying and practicing the pedagogy known as “The Subordination of Teaching to Learning,” developed by an Egyptian mathematician named Caleb Gattegno (1911-1988). Gattegno invented astounding techniques and materials for teaching math, second languages, and first language literacy. I first met his approach as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Korea, then I worked for Gattegno when I moved to New York. My charter school was set up by some of his other colleagues to further his work. To learn more about our school, click here. I’ve also written posts on this blog about my school, which you can read by clicking here.
Two more items: I’m married. And my husband and I have two cats.