Monday, 24 July 2017


Something else from abroad

Related image

The forthcoming incorporation of what is now the PAF (the András Pető College) into the Semmelweis Medical University has prompted attention once again to the fact that 'the Pető method' is not the only approach and not the only service for motor-disordered children developed in Hungary:

Attempts over the years have been made to direct attention to the existence of others. This weekend I have been reminded of this very short item:

There were a few such items in the nineteen-eighties and nineteen-nineties They hail from another era. With the subsequent withdrawal of official and academic interest in special pedagogy in favour of 'special needs' in the United Kingdom, and in much of the rest of English-speaking world, there has been decreasing prospect of further international interest in this topic. 

To put it bluntly, despite all those years in European Union, the United Kingdom still does not want to learn from what they do abroad if this looks likes being radically different. 


Alston, J. (1987) Educating physically handicapped children in Hungary: not just Conductive Education, European Journal of Special Needs Education, Vol. 2, no 3, p. 208

Alston. J. (1989) Special education in Hungary: patterns of professional development, programmes for physically handicapped children, and new directions of professional concern and research, European Journal of Special Needs Education, Vol. 4, no 1, pp. 5-

Gee, A. M. (1990) Mexikói út – a special school in Hungary, European Journal of Special Needs Education, Vol. 5, no 3, pp. 5-

Sutton, A. (1986) Social-historical context, in P. J. Cottam and A. Sutton (eds) Conductive Education: a system for overcoming motor disorders, London, Croom Helm, pp. 3-26

Saturday, 22 July 2017


A Facebook-blog

Four days ago conductor Ida Igra started a bold new venture, in effect a blog on Facebook, written in Russian. Yesterday evening she explained further. In loose English translation  –

I am a rehabilitation specialist for children, young people and adults with cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, autism, a delays in speech and language and motor development.

For more than twenty years I have been working using various methods, including the method of conductive pedagogy (Pető). I have long-term experience of rehabilitation at the Tsad Kadima rehabilitation centre (Israel), as well in organising and delivering rehabilitation courses (individual and group) for children in Israel, Ireland, England, USA, France, Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia and Estonia.

What can I do?
  • Diagnose cerebral palsy and delays in mental, motor, speech and intellectual development
  • Develop a comprehensive rehabilitation plan for all areas of child development, such as gross and specific motor skills (movement – purposeful crawling, sitting, walking, hand movements, etc.), intellectual and psychological development, development of play, communication and speech skills, self-help skills (for example, independent eating), etc. – through the unique method of conductive pedagogy that aims to create a child's active personality, diagnosis notwithstanding.
  • Teach parents and other adults working with a child ways to achieve given rehabilitation goals.
  • Select rehabilitation equipment in accordance with the tasks facing the child and parents at whatever stage of development.
  • Educate parents for a positive approach to the task before them, teach the child an active way of life, close to the way of life of peers with no developmental delay. advance the child with simultaneous personal growth for family members.
  • Psychological support for parents, grandparents, siblings of children with developmental delay -- from the moment when parents or other adults around the child have noticed and realised that such a delay exists.
I will be glad to answer all your questions.

All health, happiness and faith in success!

One to watch. A window on to the East!

A previous posting on Ida

* реабилитолог – reabilitolog

Friday, 21 July 2017


Still trying after all of these days

In 2010, when blogging about Conductive Education was a flourishing field, I signed the pledge to blog with integrity:

By displaying the Blog with Integrity badge or signing the pledge, I assert that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is important to me.

I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.

I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate.

I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices. My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising, should I choose to have it. If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked.

When collaborating with marketers and PR professionals, I handle myself professionally and abide by basic journalistic standards.

I always present my honest opinions to the best of my ability.

I own my words. Even if I occasionally have to eat them.

There have been massive changes in many things since 2010. Perhaps that is why it seems such an age ago, to me anyway

The number of conductive bloggers has now shrunk considerably – not uniquely. Conductive World hangs on.

It is up to readers to judge how far Conductive World has succeeded in meeting the ideals of the above pledge. And it is up to readers to comment and criticise accordingly.

Original posting, and the qualification therein: 

Blog with Integrity

Wednesday, 19 July 2017


Project in neighbouring country

Reported in the newspaper Magyar Kurir, a summer experience for children and adults kicked off on 10 July in the Romanian town of Alba Iulia (Gyulafehérvár in Hungarian), under joint sponsorship of the local Caritas charity.

Initially 21 adults with late-onsetting conditions and 27 children were to be served, with possibility of admitting more as and when further conductors became available.

Magyar Kurier is a Catholic news portal. The Pető Institute has featured quite often in its pages:

The reasons behind these out-of country programmes may be complex. Certainly, however, they are bringing experiences of Conductive Education to populations that might never even have heard of it, to a degree rarely if ever seen anywhere else in the world:

As an aside...

This is another example of the rarely questioned assumption within Conductive Education that work with adults means work with adults who have  late-onsetting conditions, in this specific instance exemplified specifically as Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis.

Why not also adults of any age, who have early-onsetting conditions? Like cerebral palsy for example?


A relevant way to go
Worth saying again...

Liverpool John Moores University Coat of Arms.jpg

SROI (Social Return on Investment)

SROI analysis uses a combination of qualitative, quantitative and financial information to estimate the amount of ‘value’ created or destroyed by a project, which is typically expressed thus –
For every £1 invested in the project, £x of social value is creat
(Nicholls et al., 2012)
Fundamentally, SLOI is about value rather than money, and the report's concluding remarks (p. 26) make this point well.
As far as I know, the only CE service to have been evaluated by this means is Stick'n'Step:
The improvements identified clustered into four groups:
  • improvements in health and well-being
  • increase in mobility
  • socialising
  • learning new skills
And tellingly –

For every £1 spent by Stick 'n' Step, £4.89 of social value was created.
This precise figure will not of course generalise across the dazzling array of practices, circumstances, services etc. that fall under the general term 'Conductive Education. It must be inevitably situation-specific, applying to given services at a given time.
A minor criticism of the study at Stick'n'Step
Though the report offers a detailed overview of the services that Stick 'n' Step provides, it does not say what the individuals investigated here actually received, e.g. what kind of 'Conductive Education', how often, over what period. It therefore falls short of the proposal for 'manualisation' (Ludwig et al., 2003) that is perhaps the most important practical proposal to have emerged from the earlier glut of 'CE-research'. This seems to be an essential prerequisite for all outcome studies in this sector if they are to have concrete value in contributing to a guide to future policy.  (ibid.)
This notwithstanding, this seems as about the most relevant model for producing the sort of research evidence that is requested by officials and politicians, and by parents and the media. It is evaluation rather than 'academic research', but none the worse for that.

I myself regard the demonstration of this approach to evaluating Conductve Education as a major step forward for Conductive Education. The value of this particular study carried out at Stick'n'Step by John Moore's University has been confirmed by no less than NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence):
Such a shame...
that over the three years since this study was reported no one else has done the same. Or maybe I am missing something.
Previous mentions on Conductive World


The published report for this study can no longer be found on Stick'n'Step's website, but on the site of John Moore's University:

My thanks to Craig Neilson of the CE Taranaki Trust in New Zealand for pointing this out to me:


Ludwig, S., Leggett, P., Hartsal, C, (2000) Conductive Education for children with cerebral palsy, Edmonton, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research

Nicholls et al., (2012) A Guide to Social Return on Investment, revised edition, SROI Network, January

Optimity Advisors (2015) Community Engagement – approaches to improve health and reduce health inequalities. Review of Social Return on Investment (SROI) evaluations, London, NICE, July

Whelan, G., Roach, G. (2014) An evaluation of the Stick ‘n’ Step charity in Wirral, Merseyside, Final report, Liverpool, John Moore's University, February

Tuesday, 18 July 2017


An adult posting

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling
Rear cover of Judit Forris's book on András Pető

Two recent disability-related items in the popular media in the UK:

They have in common parental concerns about their young-adult children and sex. Neither story is about Conductive Education, nor even about motor disorder – but they could be. Motor disorders may raise the same sort of dilemmas, for young men and women with motor-disorders, and for their families, and also for those who work with them. And those for who are older too.

If conductive pedagogy and upbringing (lifestyle) do creep slowly up the adult age ranges then there seems no way that sex can fail to become an ever more pressing topic to the sector. After all, what are the major preoccupations in the lives of adult human beings? There is no single definitive list in reply to this question. Work? Well yes, that is surely a central factor to be factored into much continuing conductive practice with adults. Add social relationships, group-membership, friendship, love.

And sex – that ever-interesting topic – is often the most interesting of all.

Sex on the curriculum

If continuing Conductive Education does become more widely discussed, where's the recorded knowledge base – at its most basic the recorded practical experience and wisdom that has been shared and accumulated within Conductive Education over the decades? I know that over those decades motor-disordered people, their nearest and dearest, conductors, institutions, families, have mdt this aspect of life, confronted problems, failed and triumphed – in many possible ways, – but such instances have remained individual experiences, only rarely shared even at the level of personal reminiscence or anecdote. They have remained private and personal, rather that passing into the public, the professional, even the academic realms.

Where is the written record can be passed on formally others, and shared in training experiences at every level, from short courses to professional conductor training? The answer, as far as I can discern, in nowhere. This identifies one (another) important gap in the ready expertise to continue Conductive Education across into and through adulthood.

While it is right to expect all conductors to adapt and extend their knowledge with anything relevant to a given personal situation, some professional preparation on a topic that not everyone may find easy might make it easier to get started.

If continuing Conductive Education is to be genuinely holistic in any real sense of the word with respect to its adult clients (never mind younger ones) then practically and theoretically it has surely to include attention to the sexual side of human life.


Image result for "Ekiwah Adler"

In 2012, in Hong Kong, at the 7th World CE Congress I had the pleasure to met the Mexican poet Ekiwah Adler-Beléndez and hear him passionately declaim his poem The woods – 


She pushed
my wheelchair
into the woods.

Before I could
tuck myself under
the heavy blanket
of a metaphysical subject —
a midsummer night descended
suddenly upon us
and we slipped
into bodies of moss and leaf,
braided by the thin strands of the rain.

Her hair,
a labyrinth of orange light,
her eyes alert like skittish mares
the turn of her voice
bright autumn.

I, with her in my arms...
became at once
a line of smoke
where sky meets sea
over the world's
curved blue lip
and one coherent piece
of cosmic clay
feeling wanted for the first time
not in spite of my body
but because of it
every one of my cells opening
into gardens of motion and silence.

Then like a smiling skull
cut out of tissue paper
and strung in a row of prayer flags
for the time when the dead
laugh with the living
our day floated through the night.

Ekiwah has cerebral palsy, and knows Conductive Education.. In 2010 he had started a blog, Love on wheels: sex, love and disability. It did not last long. It had run into something that has daunted so many bloggers who have so much to say. Looking back in 2012, he wrote (his emphasis) –

When I think about it I have had some wonderful sexual experiences even if they have been few, I've known romance, I've known what is to fall in love, out of love, to be heart broken and break peoples hearts so goodbye self-pity. If I don't compare my sexual life to those of others -- I've had a pretty good time with its ups and downs. So goodbye blog? I don't know. I NEED MORE COMENTS AND FEEDBACK TO KEEP THIS BLOG GOING. I WONT BE OFFENDED IF I DONT GET THEM, BUT IT IS NOT WORTH WHILE IF THEY ARE JUST MESSAGES IN A BOTTLE IN THE MIDDLE OF CYBERSPACE. 

In 2012 he made one further (and uncharacteristically brief) posting –

I will soon be a father. I already am...

Despite his earlier involvement with Conductive Education, Ekiwah did not draw Conductive Education into his discussion. His blog remains on line, perhaps to be continued...

Margarita with a Straw


Also useful background material, explicit about sexuality in the context of young-adult cerebral palsy, is this Bollywood film released in 2015:

Mention of this film on Conductive World's blog:

Since then, attempts have been made (not by myself!) to post this film on YouTube but these have been rejected, for copyright reasons. Be careful if you check on this on YouYube. There some there that promise 'the full movie'. Beware of scams and malware. 

Judit Forrai at Moira

Judit is a sexologist, a bit of a polymath, and a friend of Conductive Education. In 2012 she made a 90-minute contribution to one of its Tudásszomj ['Thirst for knowledge'] study days organised in Budapest by Moira, entitled Szerelem, szex mindenkinek?

The title of Judit's presentation in English translation: 'Love and sex for everyone'

As mentioned on Conductive World:

Judit is affiliated to Semmelweis Medical University. Perhaps Conductive Education will hear more of her in the future.

8th World Congress

The German-organised CE World Congress, held in Fürstenfeldbruck near Munich in 2014, made a bold attempt to attract relevant contributions on relevant themes. In the event, however only one oral contribution materialised. made by two physicians Gerlinde Debus and Ralph Burtscher

There is an abstract of this in the Congress's Abstract Book:

Debus, G., Burtscher R. (2013) Sexuality, contraception,in the 9th World Congress, in Budapest in 2016 pregnancy and parenthood in disabled women, Abstract Book, 8th World Congress on Conductive Education, Furstenfeldbruck, October, pp. 188-189

This Abstract Book was on line in the months immediately following the Congress. The whole website for that Congress appears to have been taken down and I can no longer find this abstract other than in my own hard copy. Does anyone know whether it is still live, somewhere obscure?

There was also a poster accepted, from Dr Debus plus three others:

Most unusually, this appears in the Abstracts Book as a much-reduced image of the poster itself. The result is text that for the most part requires much better eyes and a much better magnifying glass than my own. The formal content of the poster is more physiological than pedagogic. Tha concluding lines of the poster are written in slightly larger script, and with effort I can just about read them. In English translation I think that they read something like this – 

If it is possible for an 65-year-old woman to get pregnant, then it must also be possible for a disabled woman to get pregnant – Dr G. Debus

Debus, G., Winkler U., Schmid, J.. Vogel, S. Gynäkologische Ambulanz für behinderte Frauen an der Frauenklinik Dachau, ibid., p. 307

His words introduce an ethical dimension relevant to all aspects of Conductive Education possible relevance to the sexual life of its potential clients

There was nothing in the programme of the 9th World Congress two years later in Budapest.

Conductive World: does size matter?

In addition to the postings already mentioned above, Conductive World has carried just one other posting on this topic:

Of course, there may be a lot going on that I never hear of. The view from here does, however, rather suggest that there was perhaps just a little publicly stated interest and activity a few years ago but like many other topics in Conductive World this has remained tucked away out of public view.

For what it is worth, the statistics for the numbers views of previous postings on Conductive World mentioned here have (to date) been as follows

Sex, love, disability (2010) 166 views, 0 Comments

Love on wheels (2012) 242 views, 4 Comments

Sex for everyone (20 ) 627 views, 0 Comments

Margarita (2015) 176 views, 0 Comments

Margarita (2017) 254 views, 0 Comments

A blog's postings may be visited. That does necessarily mean that they are read, in part or in their entirety. Longer items (like this present one, and some of the links that it refers to) may not be read, especially by those for whom reading English is not easy. 

And finally...

A correspondent of mine, before she became a conductor worked as a women's counsellor and has carried her experience and understandings from this over into her conductive practice with disabled adults. 

Knowing that I was going to write something on this topic, she wrote to me –

As an ugly aside – sexual abuse/assault is a very serious conversation for people with disabilities, especially in care/residential/group homes... Are you going to talk about the taboo possibility of conductors being involved with clients? You might get young people with c.p. rising to this one.

Well, I haven't, just something else for others, including herself, eventually to bring into the public domain. Like so much else in Conductive Education, this may now depend upon the new generation...

Saturday, 15 July 2017


And impressing allies
A (geo)political perspective

Previous mention has been made on Conductive World of the Hungarian Government's sponsorship of the PAF's provision of services in 'Ethnic Hungarian' areas beyond Hungary's present borders, that is in former Hungarian territories now part of surrounding countries.

One hopes that these Government-sponsored schemes will bring widespread and sustainable benefits to their direct beneficiaries in Hungarian-speaking Transcarpathia (Ukraine), Transylvania (Romania) and Vojevodina (Serbia). Especially that they will prove sustainable.

It does well, however, to be aware of a possible political dimension of this activity and its wider financial and political background.

There are more than a million such Ethnic Hungarians (Hungary itself has a total population of around ten million). Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has granted such Ethnic Hungarians the right to register as Hungarian citizens – and to vote in Hungarian elections, There is a General Election in Hungary in April of next year. Such extraterritorial votes may just give him back the two-thirds majority that he needs to change the Constitution yet further.

The Hungarian Government's analogous involvements in Eastern Poland and Kazakhstan are of course founded on different political imperatives. These countries do not have Hungarian minorities – so they can offer no potential votes back in Hungary itself. They do, however, play important roles in the Hungarian Government's wider political narratives, the EU and 'Eurasia':

All this this is presumably a further commitment that Semmelweis Medical University will now inherit, unless a separate, residual authority is established.


Eight years ago

Posted on Facebook, 15 July 2009 –

I am on Facebook by mistake. I had one of those 'wants-to-be-your-friend' emails and clicked on it to see what would happen. A couple of (mistaken) clicks later and Google sent a similar message to people in my address book, maybe all of them! Now that I am here I may as well stick around for a bit, experiment, and see what it leads to.

I am still there. That's daft too!