Wednesday, 23 August 2017


The story so far
Wordless video speaks volumes

Image result for andras peto

CE's Kremlin-watchers cannot fail to have noticed how, as the website goes quiet, the Pető Institute Facebook page, seems more active than it ever has been, publishing a steady stream of good-news PR materials. And whyever not? The end of this summer marks a welcome interregnum following the alarums and excursions of recent times, prior to the hard graft ahead to create whatever the new order will create.

Yesterday's Facebook offering is interesting. Without commentary or other dialogue (and therefore equally accessible to all who watch it, whatever language they speak) this offers a montage of short, archive film clips from the Pető Institute in some of its various manifestations over the years.

I offer here a short, personal vade mecum.

It starts off in black-and-white days, in the old Villányi út 67, with the well-known, classic snapshot that used to hang in András Pető's former room there. A Socialist-era minibus pulls into the gate, then inside the Institute ladies in iconic white coats work with school-age children in different settings.

Suddenly it is 1965, there is colour, and Janos Szantagothai is making his extempore speech at the opening of the new building in Kútvölgyi út, reminding that at times of need the Institute could count on public support from the highest level. Mária Hári gazes watchfully on. Shots of practice into the nineties include not just school groups but work with mothers and little children.

Then onwards into the twenty-first century and the practice selected for display looks increasingly informal, uniforms giving way to informal mufti for both conductors and children. Even archetypal wooden furniture gets a coat of paint. Older teenagers extend into out-door activities. There is sport and festival in the sun, reminder of work with adults, and  that students qualify and celebrate success. It ends with a winsome little boy, and bubbles...

The film shows that the Institute has history It has come a long way, and provides and projects a broad and complex range of activities. Style and narrative may have changed but an unspoken implication is of continuity. Things may be very different now in various ways, yet they remain much the same.

At least that is how this little four-minute film reads to me. Others may know the story better, and differently. They are welcome to make their own commentaries.

See the video yourself

After only eighteen hours on line getting on for six-thousand people have already liked. Many of those who read this posting will have already done so.

I should like to link here the rest of you straight to this video, but I cannot find a direct URL I can only direct you to the Facebook page and suggest that you scroll down to the date of 23 August.


– (2017) Életképek a Petőben [Pictures of life at Pető], Pető Intézet, Facebook, 23 August
(Scroll down to 23 August 2017)

Monday, 21 August 2017


Rubber ducks and elephants

At least, these two tests still seem applicable to current items on Conductive World and its Facebook page:

The duck test and the elephant test

See what this is is about:


Barmy boffins strike again

Hilde Myrhaug, Oslo

Another reductionist evaluation of Conductive Education has just hit the streets.


PURPOSE: To evaluate the effects of a conductive education (CE) course followed by conventional practice, on gross motor function, other functional skills, quality of life, and parents' experiences of family-centered services in young children with cerebral palsy (CP).

METHODS: Twenty-one children with CP, 3-6 years old, were randomized to one 3-week CE course followed by conventional practice or conventional practice on a waiting list. Outcomes were measured 4 months after baseline. A web-based log collected data on the conventional practice.

RESULTS: No additional improvements in the children's outcome were found. However, parents in the CE group reported that they received more information than parents in the waiting list group (p = 0.01). Children in both groups performed high amount of conventional practice at home.

CONCLUSIONS: A 3-week CE course did not add any improvements in the children's functioning, possibly explained by the large amount of conventional practice reported of both groups.

KEYWORDS: Cerebral palsy; children; conductive education; gross motor function; quality of life; randomized controlled trial

What other outcome would anyone with the slightest nous expect?

No matter, it has created occupation and presumably income for academics in four institutions in Oslo (plus the journal's editors and reviewers, wherever they are around the world), contributed to the next literature search on 'research' into Conductive Education, and perhaps contributed yet another tiny nail to the coffin of Conductive Education's surviving reputation in academic circles.

... a 3-week CE course did not add any improvements in the children's functioning

Ms Myrhaug and colleagues have form:


Myrhaug, H., Odgaard-Jensen, J., Østensjø, S. Vøllestad, N. K., Jahnsen, R. (2017) Effects of a conductive education course in young children with cerebral palsy: a randomized controlled trial, Developmental Rehabilitation, August
[Epub ahead of print]


Grab a bowl and have a ball

Today the United States experiences its total eclipse. My own experiences have been partial:

Have fun with your big one.


Solomon Shereshevskii 

One of the great classic reports in the literature of psychology (and incidentally of qualitative investigation and reporting), is A. R. Luriya's story of 'S', the memory man.

Luriya's Mind of a Mnemonist is an important part of a psychological education. I used to encourage student conductors to read it. Some did.

Reed Johnson's extensive article recently published in the New Yorker provides an important framework for Luriya's account, identifying the memory man and reporting how it had looked to him all those years ago.

This article is published in full, on line. Luriya's little book itself is still in print, and widely available second hand.

Previous posting on A. R. Luriya

Image result for "martin luther" playmobil

A. R. Luriya (numerous dates) The Mind of a Mnemonist, various editions

Johnson, R. (2017) The mystery of S., the man with an impossible memory, New Yorker, 12 August 

Sunday, 20 August 2017



It is a couple of weeks now since conductor László Szögeczki published his attractive paperback monograph on Conductive Education for adults, published by Amazon. The book is in English.


You can read László's opening text, the book's Contents pages and its rear-cover blurb here:

Reading it in full

A couple of weeks ago, Gill Maguire drew attention to this on line via Amazon's German site:

It can also be ordered via Amazon's UK site, and doubtless from its many others too:

There is also a Kindle edition,. Shop around for the best deal for you.

Books or Kindle?

Take your pick, for example: 
  • the German site edition at €23,43 and a Kindle edition at €18.69
  • the UK site offers a paperback at £19.79 and a Kindle edition at £16.87
The book is in English, however and wherever you buy it.

Check your own local Amazon site for local variants. For the paperback edition delivery in commendably fast but postage and packing will add to your costs. Remember that Kindle comes post-free and instantly, and that Amazon will provide you with a free download app.


Comments/reviews can be written directly on to the book's Amazon pages, in the usual manner, in any language.

Friday, 18 August 2017


Simon von Quadt (with Hansi and Peter)

Konduktive Förderung | Bild: BR
Simon von Quadt
It is not often nowadays that one can report a substantial overview of a comprehensive Conductive Education experience on a major television station. I do not know why this should be, CE around the world seems to have little taste or capability for public statements. It can hardly be because CE no longer needs the public enthusiasm and awareness, the financial and political benefits that television exposure can bring.

Over the years one of CE's major proponent and beneficiary of steady and informative media coverage has been Fortschritte Starnberg in Bavaria. Earlier this week a 28-minute TV documentary by Beatrice Sonter was shown on Bavarian Television, featuring Simon von Quadt, now a young adult, his mother Hansi and father Peter.

This short feature currently remains on line – I do not know whether this will be for a limited time or more permanently. The film is in German, A brief synopsis gives the gist –

Simon's birth doctors diagnosed a spastic paralysis and confronted his parents with the prognosis: 'Your child will never walk!' Hanni and Peter would not accept this. They put all the levers to hand to promote Simon as best they could.

By chance they encountered the so-called 'conductive method' developed by the Hungarian physician András Pető (1893-1967). Conductive Education is a intervention for people with spastic paralysis, training and bringing together a variety of various skills. The aim is to improve gross and fine motor skills, develop language and thinking, coping with everyday tasks, who carry out intensive and very strenuous training programme with the patients. They are in effect physiotherapists, language and occupational therapists in a single person.

Peter von Quadt went to the Pető Institute in Budapest in 1989 and was impressed by this therapy's apparent successes. At that time, however, it was available only in Hungary. The Quadts changed their lives completely. Hanni gave up her job as an educator and went with Simon for several weeks a year to Budapest for him to be treated there. After several stays in Budapest, Simon could actually stand and learn independently. The Quadts knew that they are privileged in their own ability to travel again and again to Hungary. They therefore wanted other children to benefit. Inspired by the success of their son, in 1994 Hanni and Peter von Quadt founded the association 'FortSchritt e.V.', which took as its task establishing the Petö method in Germany. Despite many bureaucratic hurdles, they have finally succeeded.

Today the now thirty-year-old Simon von Quadt leads a self-directed though restricted life. The author of the documentary has followed his development and the von Quadts' work several times with her camera since the 1990s, and this documentation amounts to an impressive long-term observation.

The conductive lives of young adults and their families with serious experiences of Conductive Education (pedagogy and upbringing) do indeed constitute impressive living witness to this approach – veritable testimonios – and television remains probably still the best medium to convert these into public and political effect.


Sonter, B (2017) 'More freedom with every step'... Holistic support with the Pető therapy, Bayerischer Rundfunk, 15 August

Sutton, A. (2015) CE research: CE Research? Do some yourself, Conductive World, 9 April


                  In Moscow

Looking for something else on line I have just stumbled across one of those mysterious 'lost' Russian conductors trained at the Pető Institute in the distant days of El'tsin – Elena Alexeevna Horvath.

She refers to herself as a 'conductologist' (konduktolog).


I have no time at the moment to look further into what she now does in Moscow, according to the extensive website of the centre called I CAN (slogan: 'I want, I can, I will!'). Perhaps I might get round to this another time.

Meanwhile here for the record is a way into this for enthusiasts to explore for themselves:

Thursday, 17 August 2017


A baton

Nine years ago conductor Wendy Baker and I published a little overview article entitled 'Parent-child interaction as focus for early intervention: experience from early-age Conductive Education '. This remains live on line, free and open access:

Around a year later Wendy competed a masterate, 'Developing interactions between parents and their young motor disabled children through Conductive Education':

I had rather wondered whether 'early-years conductive education' (upbringing and pedagogy) might hold the basis for a coherent academic literature around emerge. It hasn't. Perhaps Semmelweis...

Wendy Baker is now headteacher of a primary school in Staffordshire, in England.


Baker, W. (2009) Developing interactions between parents and their young motor disabled children through Conductive Education, MA (Childhood in Society), University of Warwick

Baker, W., Sutton, A. (2008) Parent-child interaction as focus for early intervention: experience from early-age Conductive Education, Interconnections Quarterly Journal, no 2, July, pp. 14-22

Wednesday, 16 August 2017


Now on line as separate offprint

This  study from Tsad Kadima, surveying conductors' perceptions and attitudes on working with parents was published on line at the end of July, as part of a complete issue of the International Journal of Special Education:

This paper is now published more conveniently in the form of a stand-alone offprint, on Tsad Kadima's own website:

Free and open access in both cases.