Wednesday, 18 January 2017


Where Buddy Bear still hangs on by a thread
Latest news is a petition:
So, with all this broad public, political support, how much good will does it take to achieve serious consideration of what the parents are asking for...? What kind of ill will does it take to oppose this?
Sod's Law...
Today this petition will be delivered to the Chief Executive of the Education Authority NI, and to the First Minister of the Northern Ireland Assembly:

Unfortunately, the Northern Ireland Assembly has just been suspended as part of the latest political impasse there. There will be a snap election on 2 March.
An opportunity...
Six weeks for Buddy Bear to blow up an election issue.
Most recent posting on Ireland

It is not just in the North. As remarked here before, there seems to be an all-Ireland problem.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017


Addition to New Zealand family of CE services

Ryan Griffin

The proposed new CE centre in Taranaki in New Zealand may be open in March:

Now the hard work is almost ready to begin, the long haul!

Previous report here on Conductive World on this classic family-to-centre story:

Sunday, 15 January 2017


On Conductive Education

Please correct me if I am wrong but the event on the video linked to below represents the last time in which a major political figure in the United Kingdom, indeed a major public figure of any kind in that country, spoke enthusiastically about Conductive Education.

Why? What has changed since? And does it really matter?

Follow this link back to  to 2009 , to hear what Mr Cameron said:


In Hungarian

Formal abstracts in English:

Special education's two decisive Marias: Maria Montessori and Mária Hári

This study presents the decisive pedagogy of two Marias: Dr. Montessori and Dr. Hári. Dr. Montessori was the first woman in Italy who received a medical degree and it was many years later when she did pedagogical studies as well. Dr. Hári was a young medical student when she started to work with Professor Pető who had laid down the basics of Conductive Education. Dr. Montessori and Dr. Hári had a lot in common: not just their profession was the same but thanks to their hard work both pedagogies became famous internationally. Through their personality the reader will have a glance into their educational methods as well. The topic is relevant because both educational systems make it possible for people with disabilities to integrate into society and live a meaningful life.

Everyday activities to help integration in Pethő Institute in Hungary and abroad

This paper will present András Pető, the father of conductive pedagogy, his method and his institute. His new rehabilitation method gave a chance to motor-disordered children and adults to learn how to adjust into society and cope with daily challenges in spite of their physical disadvantage. He established his institute after World War II in 1945, and the institute was named after him and became nationally and internationally well-known as the Pető Institute. 


Oravecz, A. (2016) A gyógypedagógia két meghatározó Máriája: Maria Montessori és Hári Mária, Különleges Bánásmód, II. évf. 2016/4. szám, 35-47

Oravecz, A. (2015): A Pető Intézet Integrációt segítő mindennapos tevékenysége itthon és külföldön, Különleges Bánásmód, I. évf. 2015/4. szám, 49-64

Thursday, 12 January 2017


I chased a wild goose
And caught a red herring

Google Scholar threw me up this link (recounting the fate of Hungarian psychoanalysis during the Fascist period in Hungary in the last century). I read –

The two principal destinations of emigration were to the United States and Australia. Visas to Australia were given to András Pető and Elisabeth Kardos, as well as to Clara Lázár-Gerő, her husband and son...

Hello, what's this? Here's an unexpected twist. I has thought that András Pető did not think too highly of psychoanalysis. I had this on no less authority that one of Peter Popper's reminiscences (see pages 109-110 0f Judit Forrai's collection)! 

Pető is a common enough Hungarian surname and András in different forms is a common Hungarian personal name.

This Dr András Pető (sometimes Endre) was around the same age, went briefly to Paris in 1938, then spent the War years in Budapest. He is well documented, however, and was easily revealed as someone quite else:

His wife and co-worker Erzsébet Kardos, psychoanalyst and paediatrician, was murdered by the Arrow Cross in Budapest just a few days before the liberation of the city. Endre survived, emigrated to New York and practised there as Andrew Peto, later serving as President of the New York Psychoanalytic Society.

(p. 105, n. 45)


Mézáros, J. (1998) The tragic success of European psychoanalysis: the 'Budapest school', International Forum of Psychoanalysis, vol. 7, no 4, pp. 207-214

Wednesday, 11 January 2017


A five-year follow-up

 Luke Kelly Melia and his assistance dog, a golden retriever called Aidan, at home at Oldcastle, Co. Meath. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
Luke and Aiden
Five years ago Conductive World mentioned the case of Luke Kelly-Melia, a boy with cerebral palsy then in his final year of primary schooling in Co. Cavan in the Irish Republic. His school had refused permission for him to talk Aiden, his stability dog, with him to school pending the outcome of its internal procedures (the school's, not the dog's). His parents withdrew Luke from the school for the rest of the school year and home-schooled him:

Luke's story prompted a further newspaper article at the time, a newspaper comment on the benefits of 'assistance dogs' from a neuropsychologist:

The academic reference that this article gives may be of some general interest but was not directly relevant to the problem of Luke and his family, which was of a social not a psychological nature.

How did things turn out for Luke at secondary school? I do not know what happened over the dog but there seems to have been no further breakdown in Luke's attendance and he is now in his final year of schooling.

Last year Luke was awarded the sum of 5,500 Euros by the Workplace Relations Committee. The Committee ruled that:

...his former primary school discriminated against him on disability grounds by refusing to allow him bring his assistance dog into the school.

[The Commission] ordered the school to redraft its policies to ensure it complied with the law... [and] report to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) on the progress on this within a year.

This heartening item is well worth reading in full. It rather restores one's faith.

Luke and his dog are still together.

And Conductive Education?

The posting in Conductive World five years ago was headed 'No country for conductors…...'

Five years later I think that there is still no conductive service operating in the Irish Republic, not publicly at least. If right, I suspect that that the Republic is the only European country to have seen conductive practices begin to establish bridgeheads in the usual Western way, out of the hope, hard work and initiative of parents – only then to see the forces of reaction triumph and clear the land of what they seemed to regard as poisonous...  

Hainji Kele's Facebook comments at the time are worth considering:

Luke's personal victory suggest that Ireland is becoming a more just place for those with disabilities. Perhaps the country now offers kinder ground for Conductive Education to try again. Forget the legend of Patrick and the snakes: take heart instead from the story of his ash staff.

Conductive Education has all taken a very long time in Ireland. It not too late for something new to take root.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017


Eat your heart out, Conductive Education

Liudmila Filippovna Obukhova
Liudmila Filippovna Obukhova (1938-2016)

I have just seen that Liudmila Filippovna Obukhova died in July of last year:

She had studied under P. Ya. Galperin, critically examined the work of Jean Piaget, and was a well regarded psychology academic. In the nineteen-seventies she also supervised the 'Zagorsk Four', the great experiment under the deaf-educator Aleksandr Meshcheriyakov and the philosopher Evald Il'enko, involving the upbringing of four children in the Home for the Deaf-Blind in Zagorsk (now Sergiev-Posad), taking their education right through to university level:

Special education has demonstrated transformation of the development of those with severe developmental disorders in different places and through different specific means. The work of András Pető and Mária Hári held its place in this, as a towering achievement, not least in respect to its being maintained to develop into a possibly sustainable system. But if Conductive Education seemed a high peak among transformative pedagogies, then I always thought that the work at Zagorsk was the Everest.

Marching into the 21st century

I have also just learned of the Deaf-Blind Support Fund called So-edinenie*, established in Moscow to continue the Zagorsk tradition in what looks from its website and Facebook page to be a very 21st-century way:

Keep to the point

I have also just read a newspaper report on the new centre in Moscow:

...modern medical equipment for improving vision and hearing..., computer classes and creative workshops... new integration and communication technology for the deaf and blind...communication gloves and sensor devices for the deaf and blind that will facilitate their interaction with the world.

Granted this is in a techies' publication, but this report is hopelessly off the point and misleading. Poor Meshcheriakov and Il'enko! The 'science' that transformed the development of those four young people was pedagogic science. I do hope that this newspaper item is just the product of poor journalism, and that the new centre in Moscow has not wholly lost the plot!

It is vital that the central pedagogical message be preserved and passed on, here as elsewhere.

A public, digitalised library and archive

Part of this effort is maintaining a public Archive on the pioneering and persisting work of I. A. Sokolyanskii, Meshcheriakov, Il'enko, others at Zagorsk, and the 'Four':

Liudmila Filippovna was Curator of this Archive until her death.

This is a nice reminder of how great achievements in special education need preserving and transmitting into an age that might have different public visions for the development of children with developmental disorders. If not done it may be all to easy to lose something of great human value.

New book

There is a new book out to add to the already considerable, established corpus of published literature and detailed original documentation in this field –

Nowadays we honour the possibilities of the human mind!

How can we imagine life without sight and hearing, where the sun's rays are converted into uncertain glare, and the sounds of music can not break through the silence? Empty, meaningless?

Not at all! Human ability is truly unlimited. This book is a unique account of an experiment on working with deaf-blind children. Three boys and one girl from the Zagorsk home for blind and deaf children had to receive a higher education. Haw could this be – to live and struggle for the seemingly impossible when you can barely see and hear?

Read about amazing people who were able to overcome the conditions and prejudices of our society, and about their feelings and thoughts about the world and the people around them.


(2016) Выход из темноты: история одного эксперимента [The way out of the darkness: the story of an experiment], M., Coединение, 2016

Sunday, 8 January 2017


Saga continues

Last month the Protestant College in Nuremberg announced the following course to commence in the Winter Semester 2017/18 –

Ab WiSe 2017/2018: Heilpädagogik grundständig


Seit zehn Jahren gibt es den Studiengang Heilpädagogik an der EVHN. Der Senat und das Kuratorium der EVHN haben kürzlich die Umwandlung des dualen in einen grundständigen, sieben semestrigen Studiengang Heilpädagogik (Bachelor of Arts) beschlossen. Das heißt: Sowohl mit allgemeiner oder fachgebundener Hochschulreife als auch für „beruflich Qualifizierte“ ist es ab dem Wintersemester 2017/18 möglich, Heilpädagogik zu studieren, ohne dass sie, wie bisher, eine Ausbildung als Erzieher/-in oder Heilerziehungspfleger/-in vorweisen müssen. Gleichwohl können diese Berufsgruppen sich ebenfalls um einen Studienplatz bewerben. Studierende haben die Wahl zwischen den Studienschwerpunkten Heilpädagogische Diagnostik und Konduktive Förderung (nach A. Petö).

Zukünftige Absolventinnen und Absolventen können als Heilpädagoginnen und Heilpädagogen (B. A.) in unterschiedlichen Einrichtungen der Kinder-, Jugend- und Behindertenhilfe arbeiten. Menschen gleich welchen Alters mit Entwicklungsverzögerungen, Verhaltensauffälligkeiten oder (Körper-)Behinderungen zählen zur Klientel der Heilpädagoginnen und Heilpädagogen.

Die Stiftung Pfennigparade mit dem Konduktiven Förderzentrum Phoenix GmbH war von 2000 bis 2015 Träger der berufsbegleitenden Weiterbildung zum/zur Pädagogisch-therapeutischen KonduktorIn/Heilpädagogische/r FörderlehrerIn. Sie ist ab 2017 Förderer und Unterstützer des Schwerpunkts Konduktive Förderung innerhalb des EVHN-Studiengangs Heilpädagogik sein. Praxisplätze werden angeboten und Dozierende der Phoenix GmbH werden im Studiengang lehren.

Eine maßgebliche finanzielle Beteiligung erfährt der Studiengang Heilpädagogik an der EVHN durch das Bayerische Staatsministeriums für Arbeit und Soziales, Familie und Integration.
Studieninteressierte wenden sich bitte an den Studiengangsleiter Prof. Dr. Dieter Lotz, Email

Das Bayerische Staatsministerium für Bildung und Kultus, Wissenschaft und Kunst muss der Umwandlung noch zustimmen.

A step along the way (March 2016)

'Studiengang Heilpädagogik mit Fachrichtung Konduktiven Förderung ab 2017 in Nürnberg'

* * *

I have not tried to translate any of  this into English since much of the German professional and organisational structure is untranslatable. Perhaps significant is that this is not stated to be conductor-training. If not a conductor, though, then what? If 2017 is to be the year in which this scheme does come to fruition, then no doubt this will clarify.

Very interesting...

Saturday, 7 January 2017


Passing them on...

People in CE seem to love 'principles'.

Here is a principled statement that I used to use a lot when introducing and outlining Conductive Education, both when writing and speaking.

I had picked it up from Reuven Feuerstein, and I see from the following that this had been picked up in turn by others in CE. See it here:

I commend it to those faced with the task of explaining Conductive Education, at whatever level.

This little hierarchy offers a robust conceptual framework to help people appreciate how a holistic view of developmental disorders (not just motor-disorder) might be operationalised in a whole-upbringing, pedagogic approach.

(One might even say that it offers the basis for an action-based corollary to Bronfenbrenner's 'ecological' understanding, which is from a primarily psychological rather than pedagogical viewpoint).

I used it a lot when teaching. I wonder what variety of models, conceptual frameworks etc. people use nowadays when teaching about Conductive Education on degree-level courses. It could be so important for the future if these are not shared.

Thursday, 5 January 2017



One hears little nowadays about 'CE research'. One does see empirical studies in analogous activities that offer supportive insights when considering aspects of Conduction Education, and offer potentially useful models for future investigation closer to home.

Lisa Gombinsky runs Counterpunch (Rock Steady classes in non-contact boxing for people with Parkinson's):

She writes to tell me of an article in the recent issue of the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology

It tells me that my gut [feeling] is right, and confirms that what I'm doing with my boxing groups and what I do in my conductive groups is really just different flavours of the same ice cream because not only do people get essentially the same psychosocial benefits, but even in the face of a deteriorating physical condition and a degenerative condition these psychosocial benefits prevail. It is refreshing to see a study looking at this alone without the use of traditional physiotherapy / OT measures – it shows that there is a place for this conversation academically – sport psychology!

I will definitely use this in my Coach training – I'd say as pre-reading but in reality it needs a good catchy summary – not easy reading for a non-academic cohort.

Here is the article's formal academic summary, as published –

People with Parkinson's disease (PD) may experience declining function and limited interaction with others with PD. Group exercise provides opportunities for physical accomplishment and social support, as well as potential social challenges. We used interpretative phenomenological analysis to examine experiences of social comparison, social support, and self-perceptions of 20 people with PD in group exercise. Participants experienced (a) reticence evolving to inspiration, (b) anxiety relief through camaraderie and breaking taboos, and (c) maintaining athletic identity through participating and helping others. Practical implications include facilitating a safe space and support to alleviate anxiety and sustain participation.

It would be nice to read more but the full article lies behind a high price-wall, too high that is except to institutions or professionals with serious relevant concerns.

Thank you Lisa for sharing this. Keep up the good fight.


Sheehy, T. L., McDonough, M. H., Zauber, E, (2016) Social comparisons, social support, and self-perceptions in group exercise for people with Parkinson's disease, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, on line