Saturday, 22 November 2014

SEVEN YEARS AGO IN TEL AVIV

Where are we now with the ICF?

Norman Perrin has kicked off his new blog format with some thoughts on 'research, cerebral palsy and education' (with a second posting on this promised soon):
I do so wish that more people in the position that he occupied until recently, that is responsible for running a Conductive Education centre, were to express some of the awkward questions that they see arising out of what they are involved in.

The ICF again

Among important points that Norman raises here is the question of the ICF (the WHO's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health). He quotes a passage from the WHO stating that the ICF represents 'a philosophical shift' in the way that the field of cerebral palsy regards the interventions that it provides –
'The field has chosen a philosophical shift away from almost exclusively redressing physical impairments underlying functional problems to adopting an additional focus onmaximizing children’s environment, their independence in daily activities, and their community participation.'

Readers must make their own judgement of this. You can read Norman's own on his blog. He expresses himself as 'optimistic' as how this will play out in practice at the local level. Sorry, Norman, I myself am nothing like optimistic about how things will continue to be at the hands of the street-level bureaucrats (and of the street level academics and researchers). I fear that the ICF, like all systems of classification of human affairs, brings with it the dangerous possibility of reinforcing the philosophical status quo.

My view

A vignette from Tsad Kadima's twentieth-anniversary conference held in Tel Aviv in 2007, referring to its concluding Round Table...

I was contributing to a plenary Round Table, being quizzed along with leading physiotherapist Sarah Capelovitch by paediatrician Peter Rosebaum. Peter is an international very big wheel in the paediatrics of cerebral palsy – and a major ICF-buff. Inter alia Peter posed us both the following question –

Today, the ICF is a central framework, which should guide our work and thinking, both for clinical and research activities in childhood disability. Please try to ‘place’ the ideas of the approach you represent into the ‘modern’ conceptual framework of the ICF.

Ex tempore, I began my reply by stating the following position–

Conductive Education has remained largely untouched by the International Classification of Functioning, Heath and Disability. Internally at least, Conductive Education has not needed this, as it has already implicitly moved on to the next stage, which involves mechanisms for change not just classification.

One does hear from time to time that benefits will accrue to Conductive Education from the existence of the ICF. It would be interesting to hear what benefits there have actually been.

As for a 'philosophical shift' I would be more convinced that there is indeed a revolution in process if less attention were directed to what after all is just a classification system of how things are. Conductive Education (not uniquely), like human development itself. is a dynamic, educational process.

ICF classifies aspects of the world as it is. Conductive Education is concerned with a vital factor that links such aspects in the process of development  learning, and a conscious effort to ensure this through teaching.

ICF's may have all sorts of useful functions in its own world, but I still hold to what I said seven years ago, that Conductive Education is already step ahead of that world (again not uniquely), representing a different pradigme, one characterised by effecting change.

References

Perrin, N.(2014) Pondering research, cerebral palsy and education (1), C.E. Jottings, 20 November

Schenker, R., Capelovitch, S., Sutton, A., Rosenbaum, P. (2010) Conductive Education and NDT-Bobath: experts' discussion on history, development and current practice, Israeli Journal of Occupational Therapy, vol.19, no 2


Friday, 21 November 2014

OLD WINE

New bottle

Norman Perrin having retired from Paces Sheffield, the question occurred of what he should now call his blog (I presume that the question of whether or not he should continue blogging at all never arose).

Following a brief transitional stage under the title of Moving on, his blog has now settled under the new name of C.E. Jottings :
Conductive Education, the UK public policy landscape in which we find ourselves – and whatever else takes my fancy.
http://www.cejottings.co.uk/
Norman has been blogging for more that seven years now, since May 2007. All his previous postings are archived on his new site.

Floreat Norman!


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

WORLD CONGRESS REDISCOVERED

Its soul goes marching on

Lost?

The 8th World Congress was not too hot on the Internet. It did of course have a URL (ce-worldcongress2013.org) but when the consortium of German organisations behind WC8 was dissolved following the Congress no residual organisation was left behind with responsibility to maintain it.

The International Pető Association apparently takes no superordinate reponsibility, so with no body left to pay the annual fee for the URL,  the Congress website lapsed.

Unless one attended the Congress itself and brought away one of the Abstracts books, or can find a copy of this in a library somewhere, there is now no comprehensive way of finding out even what was mentioned in the sessions, posters and other formal activities.

The Congress apparently made no arrangement arrange to leave a trace on the Wayback Machine (Internet Archive).

As with many unrecorded and unarchived activities in Conductive Education, it is as if it never happened.

Internet archeology

As part of the run-up and preparation of the Congress the program and abstracts were assembled on a quite different website.

When the Congress occurred, links to these materials were removed from public view – but they are still up there in Cyberspace, freely available and searchable. You can enter this collection most convenienttly here:


This site is run by AMSYS, the abstract management system. The collection is not 100% complete, and its presentation is a little on the rough side, but all the same it stands as an invaluable resource to future scholars, students, and anyone investigating Conductive Education. Perhaps one or more of the German organisations that was in the Congress consortium might like to ensure that it remains up there on the public record.

Surely some body cares enough.


Meanwhile, in another part of the Internet:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3c2oCNsn3c 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

PETŐ DAY, 28 NOVEMBER

An opportunity not to be lost

The annual Hungarian Science Festival, organised by the Hungarian Academy of Science, began in 1997, and the Academy is well pleased with its success 
One can say that by now the yearly events have permeated Hungarian society’s everyday living right down to small town or even village communities. In the very first years of its existence, Hungarian Science Festival made every Hungarian understand that for the Hungarian economy or culture, no progress was possible without a firm scientific footing. People understood at once that their own well-being, too, depended on such a foundation.
This year's Festival runs from 3 to 30 November and the PAF (András Pető College, formerly the Pető Institute) is again contributing its annual Pető Day to this extensive national event. Pető Day 2014 will seek to define the place of conductive pedagogy and conductor-training within the world of 'science' (tudomány – usual caution for English-speakers over this word). This will include changes in conductors' competencies, and the matter of interdisciplinary dialogue:


The overall Festival's extensive (88-page) programme is available on line. I could not find the PAF programme there, though the András Pető College does publish its Pető Day programme in detail on its own website:


It sounds a great event, so share it

These annual Days are announced, but not reported. In November 2011, however, conductor Susie Mallett attended a Pető Day and published a vivid account., Never mind the 'science', it sounded a wonderful, warm and motivating event and many who read her account at the time must have very much envied her attending:


'Never mind the science'? Perhaps I should not have written that. But the presentations from these annual Pető Days once spoken appear never to be published, which suggests that their content was not really all that minded in the first place. 

The intentions of the themes that this year's Pető Day will cover, as expressed on the PAF's webpage cited above, are most excellent and timely. What is said about them could be of wide interest outside Hungary and make an important contribution towards establishing the much needed dialogue between the PAF and the world of Conductive Education (and perhaps in Hungary as well).

Perhaps now that the PAF is back in the public fold, as the Pető Institute once used to be but now explicitly retitled 'a college', there may be advances on this front too among other changes anticipated...


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

SO VERY EXCLUSIVE IN SWEDEN

What is there to say?

I have just noticed this organisation:

Svenska Conductorsföreningen

This means the Swedish Conductors' Association:


I see in the Association's statutes that a basic requirement for membership is –
Fullgjord 4-årig utbildning på Petö-institutet

http://www.conductors.se/uploads/1/8/4/7/18476466/stadgar_040823.pdf
I take this to mean 'a completed four-year education at the Pető Institute'.

I also see, on the same page –
Föreningen skall sträva efter att som medlem tillhöra en eller flera internationella conductorsföreningar
This I take to mean that the Association will strive to be a member of international conductors' bodies (what they?).

What interesting ramifications this all has.

A perhaps not wholly unrelated topic

From almost exactly two years ago:



Tuesday, 11 November 2014

NOT JUST THE YOUNGSTERS

The new wave in conductor careers

Special Footprints: Cerebral Palsy Life Coaching

Magdi Kovacz has just announced her new service and its website:



She flags this as a 'small business'.

Psycho-social

Magdi focuses very explicitly upon working with psychosocial-social dysfunctionalities stemming from motor disorders. particularly 'reduction of stress levels' in children and adults with cerebral palsy, their families, and those who work with them –
I combine many different, safe, gentle and effective techniques tailored to suit your need. As part of a holistic approach I offer Neurological Linguistic Programming (NLP), EmoTrance and Positive EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique ) as stand-alone sessions or as part of the Life Coaching process. These techniques will help you to manage and reduce your stress level. My aim is to assist you to make positive changes in your life. Coaching provides you with the space, time and support to step back and reflect. It enables you to envisage how things could be and how you can start making small steps towards a preferred future.

She also offers Intuitive Life Coaching  and Conductive Education:


The notion of 'life coaching' might proves  useful  in helping to  articulate upbringing.

The New Wave

Over the course of this last year Conductive World has wondered several times whether there  a 'new wave' of conductive services in England is spontaneously emerging (with parallels elsewhere):


Noting terribly new here of course, as such initiatives have been apparent for years. What makes this worth mentioning now is that such initiatives are increasing and beginning to occupy a noticeable place in the tiny world of Conductive Education, with interesting implications all round, not least for training.

With Magdi's announcement it seems time to drop the tentative tone when referring to this New Wave, and recognise that it is definitely here, a valid and expanding framework for conductive practice.

Old and young

New waves are not just for youngsters and a further characteristic of such work over the years has been that it includes conductors of all ages. Many older conductors have a variety of skills and experience to offer beside conductive pedagogy, they have no time for management and hierarchy and what they bring, and are distrustful of 'charity'.

So good luck Magdi and to all those who have taken similar roads before you. Do let those who might think to follow after know how it goes.



A NEW BOOK TO ADD TO THE PILE

Coedited by a conductor
Seventeenth CE book over last five years

Conductor Zsoka Magyarszeky is one of the two joint editors of a book published at the end of October by the Free University of Amsterdam. This is not in itself 'a Conductive Education book', though Conductive Education is in there within a wider ecological whole –
This book describes the development of a differentiated network of disability care in a developing rural area consisting of a number of townships in South Africa. The network includes residential care for abandoned, neglected and orphaned children with physical and/or intellectual disabilities; semi-residential care in group homes for young adults with a disability and daily care in day care centres for families with a disabled child in the surrounding townships; and home-based care for families with a disabled child at their homes. Then an analysis is provided about how home-based care is carried out in two other African countries, Uganda and Zimbabwe, by a non-governmental organization in The Netherlands, aiming at direct child assistance and capacity development in developing countries. Finally, in-service training activities are described that are necessary for the transition from a residential nursing-oriented facility to a community-based care organization.


Conductive Education's intervention in Sizanani Children's Home is probably the boldest project to date to step out of old ways of doing things that were based upon the experiences and possibilities of Socialist Hungary, and to reformulate radically to meet the exigencies of a developing society. Along the way, thanks to the University of Utrecht, it has probably received the most intensive, continuous academic evaluation of any conductive project. Specifics aside, in an ideal world the Sizanani project would merit careful and critical consideration by everyone seriously attempting to make institutional innovations based on Conductive Education, and evaluate their outcomes. This does not apply just to the developing world – most certainly not.

Zsoka's co-editor on this book is Professor Adri Vermeer of Utrecht University.

Recent books in and on CE

Slowly, slowly Conductive Education is establishing a corpus of published works. On a quick, informal count Gill Maguire tells me that seventeen books have been published recently within the amorphous category of 'in and on' Conductive Education'. She is very aware that there may be others.

What is 'recently'? Gill arbitrarily sets this as as the last five years, starting in 2010. Within this bracket the predominant language for publishing books in or on Conductive Education has been English (German is second), with and most of the works being collections. Only one of these seventeen books might count as an academic book (given the nature of the field this is not necessarily a bad thing).

There are some good things here, for sharing with families, for practitioners and academics – and even for briefing media and politicians. Inclusion on this list should not necessarily be taken as a recommendation.

Seventeen books published on Conductive Education over five years, that is more than many might guess, though still not enough yet to constitute 'a literature' (academic or otherwise), and certainly not yet linking together to constitute a coherent body of knowledge. Within this context, Zsoka's book is notable for being the 'academic' one.

Most recent item on this topic


Reference

Vermeer, A., Magyarszeky, Z. (eds) Disability care in Africa: community-based rehabilitation in rural regions, Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit



Sunday, 9 November 2014

COMPARATIVE OUTCOME STUDY IN SOUTH AFRICA

A study from 2011 – only just spotted

From Sizanani Children’s Home in South Africa  
The cognitive play abilities of the residents in Sizanani Children’s Home improved more during CPI than during the MSST-intervention or the baseline period. It has been established that children starting the intervention with a lower level of cognitive play progress to a greater extent than those already starting on a higher level. The level of motor functioning or social responsiveness does not moderate the effectiveness of CPI on cognitive play performances.
Neither is the effectiveness of CPI moderated by the effect of one of the parallel programs (CE and MSST).
http://dspace.library.uu.nl/handle/1874/279060

CPI signifies cognitive play activities, MSST is Multi-Sensory-Storytelling

Kathrin Flesch undertook this particular study for a masterate, conductor Zsoka Magyarszeky managed the service, at Sizanani Children’s Home

And STOP PRESS: the book

Zsoka is also joint editor of the edited book on the work of the Sizanani Village, published at the end of last month by the Free University of Amsterdam. She now works at Stick'n'Step on Merseyside, England.

References

Flesch, K. (2011) Evaluation of a cognitive play intervention in children with profound multiple disabilities at a children’s home in South Africa, University of Utrecht
http://dspace.library.uu.nl/handle/1874/279060

Magyarszeky, Z., Vermeer, A. (eds.) (2014) Disability Care in Africa: Community-Based Rehabilitation in Rural Regions, Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit

Friday, 7 November 2014

BÉLA STOLLÁR

The man behind the street

Yesterday Conductive World mentioned the address, Stollár Béla utca 4, where András Pető's lived for most of his years in Budapest after the Second War, leaving only to take a taxi to his Institute on the day that he died in his office..

He lived at number 4. The street took its name from what had happened at number 22 on Christmas Day, 1944.

Béla Stollár was a young Hungarian sports journalist, and an champion stenographer. In 1943 he joined the Hungarian Army where his champion shorthand skills won him a job at the Ministry of Defense. When the Arrow Cross (Hungarian Fascists) came to power in 1944 he used official Ministry forms and office equipment to forge papers to save Jews and others likely to be persecuted.

He organised an armed resistance group that based itself at Klotild utca 22, a few hundred yards from the Parliament Building in Pest. On Christmas Day 1945 the premises were attacked by a lorry-load of Arrow Cross militia. Most of the group escaped across the roofs but Béla Stollár and a few others stayed on to destroy papers and to hold off the Fascists. In the end, all who stayed were killed.

After the War's end Klotild utca was renamed Stollár Béla utca. It retains that name today.

On 5 March 2003, Yad Vashem recognized Béla Stollár as Righteous Among the Nations.

All his is of course nothing directly to do with András Pető who did not live there till after the War was over. It is just another reminder that the conductive pedagogy that sprang from András Pető's personality, and from his particular experiences and circumstances, took root in a world very different  from that which most of us can visualise today.

Reference

– (2014) Béla Stollár, Hungary, The game of their lives: the stories of Righteous Among the Nations who devoted their lives to sport, Vad Vashem

http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/righteous-sportsmen/stollar.asp

Thursday, 6 November 2014

IT'S BEEN THAT DAY AGAIN

11 September was 'Pető Day'

Another year has rolled quickly by. On 11 September, midst the first round of change in Budapest, that was thetime for the annual commemoration of the birthday and day of death of András Pető. And what a turbulent year this has been for the institutions that have born his name in Budapest over this period (PAI at the start, PAF from 1 September).

The four events that marked this date, at Farkasréti Cemetery, at Stollár Bela utca 4. and at the PAF, all in Budapest, and at Kossuth Lajos utca 2 in Szombathely, followed the pattern of last year, now being regarded as 'traditional'.

I have not heard of  similar events elsewhere.


The reason for mentioning this at the present point is that the PAF has now done so, and I know that there are those out there who will pleased to have this indication of continuity passed on to them.

Further details