Monday, 31 December 2007

Round Table – NDT (Bobath) and Conductive Education

Practical arrangements

The ‘Round Table’ at Tsad Kadima’s recent conference comprised Sarah Capelovich, President of the European Bobath Tutors’ Association, and myself, with Peter Rosenbaum, Professor of Pediatrics at McMaster University, London, Ontario, serving as ‘Moderator’.

Sarah Capelovitch’s role was to represent NDT (Bobath), mine to represent Conductive Education. Peter Rosenbaum held the ring and made sure that a lot of ground was covered within the space of a single hour event. The event was held in the plenary hall of the conference centre, with some two hundred people or so attending.

A series of six questions for discussion had been formulated with the help and reflections of Peter Rosenbaum, Orpa Fucs-Bar and Naama Shahar, and pre-circulated to Sarah Capelovitch and myself for our prior consideration. Following a brief introduction by Peter Rosenbaum we were asked to make our responses to each question in turn. Peter Rosenbaum ruthlessly checked the duration of our responses, gave a terse linking commentary and jiggled the running order to suit the emerging theme.

All in all a tough assignment! First, before I even went to Israel, I had found it hard to match what I understand about the nature and circumstances of Conductive Education to some of the content of some of the questions. It was not that the questions themselves were unreasonable: far from it. Rather, the problem was Conductive Education itself, which, as is not uncommon, just did not fit. As a result, try as I might, I managed no sensible preparation before I left for Israel, promising myself that what I experienced of the mood of the conference would help me formulate my responses once I was there. In the event I still mounted the podium knowing that I should have to wing it. Nothing new there, then. Secondly, a more immediate problem. Sitting facing a darkened auditorium, with banks of lights shining into my eyes, I couldn’t see the audience. Worse, with the auditorium’s loudspeakers facing away from me and into the audience, I could not hear what was coming out of them. I could hear what Peter said, because he was sitting directly next to me, But Sarah, seated on his other side, might as well have been in the next room for all that I could make out of what she said (I am a little deaf).

So I responded to each question within my own dark, almost silent self-contained bubble, myself, the microphone on the desk in front of me and my pencil-scribbled notes jotted down on my question sheet as we went along. This in brief is what recall of what I said (the questions being presented in italics).

Questions and answers

Every system of treatment or therapy is grounded in a particular set of historical forces, such as people’s contemporary perception of diseases, prevailing social and religious philosophies, economic realities etc. Please give us a brief ‘context’ of the approach with which you are connected – how it emerged and what you think were the most importance influences on its development and adoption by practitioners at the time it was developed.

The easy answer about the historical roots of Conductive Education is that it is ‘Hungarian’. I had certainly began my own study of this question years ago by enquiring along this line – and I was wrong. My present historical analysis is that the system has developed in periods or stages, each one leaving its mark upon what we presently know as Conductive Education and how we understand it. In considering its earlier origins, that is before we outside Hungary knew it, we have first to go back to András Pető before the Second World War and the likely influence upon him of German-Jewish liberal thinking of the time. Also from that period we have to account the particular nature of András Pető’s medical training and his notion of healing, especially the ‘healing of the soul’ (seelische Heilung) that, I now recognize, permeates Conductive Education through and through. That was, I think, András Pető’s great contribution. But secondly we also have to consider the context of the Hungarian People’s Republic within which Conductive Education as we now know it developed after the war, and especially Mária Hári’s contribution to its development. Following 1962, in order to survive under a Soviet Bloc Ministry of Education, Conductive Education – its practice and the training of its practitioners – had to accommodate to the psycho-pedagogy and associated knowledge systems of the Soviet intellectual hegemony. An example of this would be Conductive Education’s particular take on ‘potential’. This entered into an extraordinary marriage with the direct heritage of András Pető – and achieving a practical synthesis was Mária Hári’s major achievement. It was this synthesis that so impressed the pioneers who first worked to bring Conductive Education out of Hungary some twenty or so years ago. So, after twenty years of working with Conductive Education I see the original history of the idea as being a coming together of German-Jewish and Soviet understandings, with little (nothing perhaps) substantively Hungarian in the mix.

How has the system evolved, and what factors have been central to its evolution? (Please discuss any combination of developments in neurobiology, psychology, social sciences, child development and research findings based on this approach.)

Frankly, the world of Conductive Education has been somewhat autistic with respect to the sort of things in the question. But, I suggest, the system is still evolving and developing, and it now readier to look outside itself than ever before. Many of us here in this room have contributed actively to the new major historical force that has helped shape Conductive Education’s development over the last twenty years or so – the influence of parents, the importance of families. I do not think that this was a domain central to the concerns of either András Pető or Mária Hári. It has certainly been central to the internationalisation, perhaps the very survival of Conductive Education in the modern world. The mix that is now Conductive Education has therefore been further enriched through leaving Hungary, not just by bringing family life more centrally into the practice and analysis, but through consideration of new ethical imperatives such as inclusion and rights – not just of parents but, as Conductive Education for adults gains greater focus, the question of the rights and aspirations, the ‘voice’, of those who use conductive services. And as Conductive Education has entered the modern world it has had to confront and adapt to pressing contemporary influences such as were the topic of this question, its relationship with existing fields of professional-academic knowledge and the own evidence-base for its own practice.

What are the major contributions and the most meaningful achievements of the approach? (Please reflect on paradigm shifts, revised definitions, new 'entry points' in intervention, parents’ involvement etc.)

Conductive Education represents a major paradigm shift in the care and well being of children and adults with movement disabilities and their families, in that it moves on beyond the old duality of the ‘medical’ and the ‘social’ models of disability, indeed rather beyond ‘disability’ itself, representing instead a new way of understanding and acting, what might be called the ‘developmental’ or ‘systemic’ model. Within a wider developmental model of how human biology can lead on to human psychology only through the mediation of human social activity, then the systemic effects of biological damage can be readily understood in terms of what Vygotskii called a ‘dislocation’ of the developmental process. Within this context, intervention moves on from treatment to pedagogy, intervention within the psycho-social domain, by psychosocial means and primarily psycho-social outcomes. Once you cross into this other way of thinking, that movement disability is a developmental disorder like any other, then of course you can pick and chose from all sort of psychological frameworks already commonplace in providing for other developmental disorders. You can think behaviourally or in terms of Feurestein’s mediation. You can invoke ecological psychology or transactionalism. You can think about the implications of learned helplessness and learned dependence. There is a whole new world out there just waiting to be applied’ not just to Conductive Education but to the whole field of what people call physical disability. Along with it, potentially comes a whole repertoire of assessment, evaluation and research just waiting to be applied.

What would you say is the most scientifically credible evidence that the approach 'actually' works? How should future research about your approach look, and what should it focus on?

So far there has been no scientifically credible evidence that Conductive Education actually works. This is in itself not necessarily evidence that Conductive Education does not work: an equally plausible plausible explanation is that research into Conductive Education to date has not worked, because it has not been appropriately structured. How should such research look in future? It would have to adopt a paradigm appropriate to the systemic nature of Conductive education and the disabling conditions that it deals with. The very nature of these demands that we redefine a whole mass of associated concepts to suit our own systemic, mediated, conductive understandings and practice. We have conductive pedagogy and conductive upbringing. These have now to be matched by, for example, explicit articulations of a conductive psychology, by a conductive formulation of human development, and by a conductive model of inclusion. These are what I have tried to develop for teaching my student-conductors. With respect to this specific question posed here, researchers should stop trying to shoe-horn Conductive Education into their existing paradigms but collaborate with conductivists to create a conductive research paradigm capable of revealing systemic changes at all levels. As for the future development of research into Conductive Education I would hope I would look forward to the ‘developmental’ understanding of physical disability becoming as well recognised as it is with respect to, say, the education and upbringing of the deaf, with appropriate process-oriented research stemming naturally from this, and with findings and insights from our specialised field spilling over in the same way into understandings of normal development.

The ICF [the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health] is today 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.

Being embroiled in Conductive Education over the last twenty or so years means that the ICF has largely passed me by. I have been primarily involved in education, not functioning, disability or heath. I have the impression that Conductive Education does not really need the ICF classification as we are already a stage beyond it. Yes, the ICF recognises the biological and the psychological and the physical, and it is comforting to know that their relevance is so powerfully acknowledged, but Conductive Education sees them linked, dynamically, in an essential human unity and acts upon them accordingly – and the link and the action are through the mechanisms of human learning.

What do you believe is unique about the system of therapy/treatment with which you are associated? What does it not do?

Peter forewent this question in favour of a new one that he sprang on us without notice. I hope that the opportunity comes to examine Conductive Education’s uniqueness and what it does not do at a later date.

An unexpected question

What we would arrange if asked to prepare a brief item for a television audience to convey the essence of our approach, be it Bobath or Conductive Education?

I would show some establishing shots, children, young people, adults with disabilities learning and living because of Conductive Education, including the voices of learners and their families who always describe and account for this better than do any of the professionals involved. It is important that the audience seen that something massive and hugely beneficial is happening here. Professional comment should be limited to emphasizing that nothing being shown is a ‘miracle or a ‘mystery’ but the material product of hard work and discipline (in the highest sense of the word) from everyone involved. Then I would conclude with a family speaking, saying something that I have heard said spontaneously again and again from people around the world who have experienced Conductive Education: ‘Conductive Education gives us back hope’.

[I was aware from out of the darkness before me that this final point drew a round of applause. Afterwards I was told that quite a few of the audience rose to their feet for this – the ‘hope’ allusion refers, I suspect, to one of Conductive Education’s most powerful and deep-rooting effects, and deserves far greater explicit attention than it has yet been accorded.]

Peter managed to chair this Round Table as a helter-skelter ride, concluding it within the time available. I hope that it will prove possible to publish rather more comprehensive replies to the questions presented to us in the form of a journal paper. This would provide an opportunity to discuss the two approaches in a way that has never yet occurred in writing. I would particularly like to read what I could not hear on the day, how Sarah responded to the questions put to us, and any commentary that Peter cares to make upon the two.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Tel Aviv encounters

Conferences and conventions are places to meet people, people not seen for years and people altogether new. The very press of people, however, makes for little time to say all the things that you might have wanted. This is something to follow up later.

Tdass Kadima’s Twentieth Anniversary Conference was a particularly convivial and friendly ‘do’. Here are just some of my new encounters...

Franz Schaffhauser

Franz Schaffhauser, new Rector of the Pető Institute in Budapest came to my one-day pre-conference workshop, which provided us an early opportunity to seek each other out. There was little opportunity to take things further but he does seem a nice bloke and it will be a pleasure to do so when opportunity arises.

He was amused to hear that many conductors in the UK had been assuring me that he is a speech therapist – so I take the opportunity here to state again that he is a psychotherapist not a speech therapist: specifically, a logotherapist and not a logopaed. Ileave it to those who are still confused to look up the distinction on the Internet.

Ivan Su (Su Yuen Wang)

There were some very good formal presentations in Tel Aviv but Ivan‘s stood out as a tour de force. Ivan Su is Programme Coordinator for the Spastics Association of Hong Kong.

His presentation was remarkable in three ways:

- the sheer scale of service-development for children and their families in Hong Kong (thirty- eight cntres so far fora population of under eight-million);

- the force and energy with which he drove this home to his audience in the fifteen minutes available to him; and

- the extraordinarily high quality of the the overhead graphics that integrated his complex material with his punchy verbal account.

Ah, but is this ‘Conductive Education’? Not as we know it, Jim, but it sure is something and the old ways of doing things in Conductive Education are going to have to get their acts together because it is not going away.

Ivan and I know we have differences. In common, however, we found a wish to discove practical ways of exploring these differences and to identify what lies beneath. I do hope that we can continue this dialogue.

Peter Rosenbaum

Why aren’t all paediatricians like this? True, as he says himself, the ideas that he expresses, humane, critical of existing approaches, family-oriented, are common enough in paediatric circles – but relatively few of the professionals who announce such views permit the implications disturb what they actually do, and their practice honours them chiefly in the breech.

Given his status in the world of paediatrics, those struggling to ‘sell’ conductive Education to some of the less enlightened of his colleagues, and to contrary paediatric therapists, would do well to arm themselves with his friendly, open-minded but critical approach to paediatric practice as a whole.

Thorsten Gegenwarth

Thorsten Gegenwarth is Assistant der Geschäftsfüerin at Institut Keil and therefore well placed at the heart of the already divisive fault line in Conductive Education that originated in the German-speaking lands and now threatens mahem elsewhere, the question of the ‘European conductors’.

Thorsten is a real internationalist, with a background that includes history, philosophy and business. His take of the issues involved is from the standpoint of a new generation and his presence will make critical discussion across the divide all that more possible.

And anyway, he is married to Alex, who began training as a conductor at NICE then transferred perforce to complete her professional training as a PTK, uniquely embodying personal experience of these two practices. She too was at the conference in Tel Aviv, where their two delightful little children patiently put up with the whole boring adult thing!

Reuven Feuerstein

None of us are getting any younger – and Reuven Feuerstein has a start on most of us. But the old fires burn strongly and, though it has been a few years now since we last met our conversation could continue as it were uninterrupted.

He is keenly aware of the congruence between Conductive Education and mediated learning and would love to take further a long-held wish to see the two processes intertwine. Tsad Kadima is ideally positioned amongst Conductive Education organisations to continue and develop this dialogue in a practical manner in ways not open to myself, and I sincerely hope that Israeli conductivists will find ways of doing so.

All in all a very mixed bunch, but having in common that they open-minded, seeking new solutions rather than to labour old points – boding well for Conductive Education in 2008.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Some CE inspiration

Shay Allias

For one of the best personal expositions that I’ve seen arguing both the necessity for and the effectiveness of a conductive upbringing, have alook at this YouTube posting:

If you are not yet used to YouTube, just click on the little arrow in the middle of the larger picture screen to start the video.

Alternatively, click on the words Tsadkadima -The best place for a child with C.P. to grow up under the smaller picture below this.

No matter if you do not have loudspeakers on your computer, or if you cannot understand Hebrew, there are clear English subtitles that well convey the meaning.

I know personally some remarkable families around the world who, despite the institutional chaos around them that they have to contend with year after year, have still amnaged to provide a conductive upbringing for their children, with corresponding outcomes. Like I said at my recent workshop in Israel, however, amidst all the attempts to establish conductive pedagogy around the world, with their vastly varying results, only in Israel does conductive upbringing appear to have been successfully implemented in a new national context on a routine institutional basis.

There are various implications to be drawn from this and these really ought to be aired and discussed. Most immediately, however, draw some cheer for the New Year from Shay Allias's inspiring video...

... and in the slightly longer term I do hope that this will be joined by other such reports.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

FESTIVE GREETINGS... all my readers around the world...

Mot ki Yomcwing Botwo Me Mwaka Manyen. Wafayo Chamo Mbaga & Bothi Oro Manyeni. Keremisi jai be. Geseende Kerfees en 'n gelukkige nuwe jaar. C'ehwggelnen Dzaen. Gëzuar Krishlindjet Vitin e Ri! Kamgan Ukudigaa. E gueti Wïnâchte & E glecklichs Nej Johr! Wafoyo Kado Oro & Wafoyo Tundo Oro manyeni. Piamci Amlesquat Uksut. Melkam Yelidet Beaal. Yomprocha' ya' nataya. U kenei Christmas mu teicie kes a-u sie teicie kesa-u sie niepete keluo shuzaie we. Gozhqq Keshmish. I'D Miilad Said ous Sana Saida. Nabidà! & Goyosa Añada benién. Edo bri'cho o rish d'shato brich'to! Bon Nadau! Aba satho niw jari da'wisida bon. Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Soorp Janunt. Crãciunu hãriosu shi unu anu nãu, bunu! Bones Navidaes & Gayoleru anu nuevu! Rongaali Bihur xubhessaa lobo. Maroyan na Pasko woy kaopia-an ng Bag-ong Tuig kaniyo't langon mga sulod. Wi e winsi i wan bun nyun yali. Sooma Nawira-ra. Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun. Mboni Chrismen & Mboni Alooyefee. Selamat Hari Natal dan Tahun Baru. Poket Kristmet & Poket lum mfe. Enganda ye hiono mes & Hion Hios Hes. Mbung Mbung Krismie & Mbung Mbung Ngouh Suiie. Zorionak eta Urte Berri On! Ngand Nwi Lam & Mwi Lam. Mejuah-juah Ketuahen Natal. Kristu abe nenu muli ino nshiku nkulu ya Mwezi. Shuvo Baro Din: Shuvo Nabo Barsho. Naya Sal Mubarak Ho. Maugmang Capascuhan asin Masaganang Ba-gong Taon! Mi wisim yufala eerywan one gutfala Krismas & mo wan hapi New Year long. Pye duh di kaut Kristo klu munt ug Felemi Fali! I'Taamomohkatoyiiksistsikomi. God Jul og Godt Nyttår. Arkas caik xuda are. Nedeleg laouen na bloav ezh mat. Chestita Koleda i Shtastliva Nova Godina. Duma e bo'o. e be Zambe e Usa ma ka Kirisimassu. Seng Dan Fai Lok, Sang Nian Fai Lok. Bon Nadal i feliç any nou! Sirito kypoton ra'a. Ameseighil ubwutiiwel Layi Luugh me raagh fee. Zoo dungwel & Soocho nohdzi doghel. Malipayong Pasko ug Bulahang Bag-ong Tuig! Bogem h n mh m & Boxem as nana-h m. Wi na ge nyare Su dome Kirismass. Filis Pasgua & Filis Anu Nuebo. Danistayohihv & Aliheli'sdi Itse Udetiyvsadisv. Hoesenestotse & Aa'e Emona'e. Moni Wa Chikondwelero Cha Kristmasi. Mwebare khuhika: Ha Noel. Yukpa, Nitak Hollo Chito. Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth. Bon Natale e Bon capu d' annu. Mitho Makosi Kesikansi. Afvcke Nettvcakorakko. Bonn e Erez Ane. Ni ti Burunya Chou & Mi ti yuun. Khiza. Glædelig Jul og godt nytår. Marayaw na Pasko aw Bag-ong Tui g kaniyo tibo na mga soon. Ya'at'eeh Keshmish. Miet puou yan dhiedh Banyda tene Yin. Ufaaveri aa ahareh. Chrismi a lekah Nguo Suieh. Christmas-e- Shoma Mobarak. Colo sana wintom tie been. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. Rehus-Beal-Ledeat. Gajan Kristnaskon & Bonan Novjaron. Rõõmsaid Jõulupühi ja Head uut aastat. Blunya na wo. Mbemde abog abyali nti! Mbembe Mbu! Use d'h Krismass. Gledhilig jól og eydnurikt nýggjár! Sal-e no mubarak. Me Nomuni na marau ni siga ni sucu dei na yabaki vou. Hyvää Joulua or Hauskaa Joulua: 0nnellista uutta vuotta. Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig nieuw jaar. Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année! Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier! Bon Nadâl e Bon An Gnûf. Jabbama be salla Kirismati. Mangamgam Bawa a dawun sikua diaw amin. Bon Nadal e Bo Ani Novo. !Soalokia God i gotu vasau, mi lao ke ba na rago vanigira ara dou i matana! Mfiyawidi yaKrisimisa & Marago ghaMwaka waUpe. Froehliche Weihnachten und ein glückliches Neues Jahr! Gilotsavt Krist'es Shobas & Gilosavt akhal ts'els. Gia na Thigukuu njega Na MwakaM weru wi Gikeno. Hisgusgitxwsim Ha'niisgats Christ gankl Ama Sii K'uuhl! Yesu kule nongwa kaun umaribe ongwa ena mone di mile wai wen milo. Kala Christougenna Ki'eftihismenos O Kenourios Chronos. Juullimi Ukiortaassamilu Pilluarit. Pexania Navidadmatacabi piginia pexaniapejanawai paxainaename. Navidadwan Tabig tugagunrrigay & Sru pilawan kasrag utunrrigay. Avyaitete ahi ko Tupa ray arape qyrai Yy Kapyryin rira. Imboeteipri tasecoi Tupa i vave! & Ivve ava Tupa rembiaisu toyuvirecoi turpi oyeaisusa pipe! Natal ni shub kaamnao & Saal Mubarak. Osusuku Omusa & Masuke Omwaka. Drin tsal zhit shoh ohlii & Drin Choo zhit zhoh ohlii. Drin tsul zhit sho ahlay & Drin Cho zhit sho ahlay. Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara! Mele Kalikimaka & Hauoli Makahiki Hou. Waihuka na Noeli & Waihhuka n 'Omwaka. Mo'adim Lesimkha. Shanah Tova. Ati kalo gathje uwa gigih. Okresmesa ombwa Ombura ombe ombwa. Malipayon nga paskua & Malipayon Nga Bag-ong tuig. Shubh Naya Baras. Nyob Zoo Xyoo Tahiab. Kellemes karácsonyi ünnepeket és Boldog újévet! Maphon au nitungawan. Apo Dios Kituwen baron di toon. Selamat Ari KKeremisi ewewa. Sung Tan Chuk Ha. Tok Tapeng & Engan ya sasu. Denaahto' Hoolaank Dedzaanh Sodeelts'eeyh. Appi Krismes en Appi Niu Yaa. Sretan Bozic. A Bona Lukara na Kinakava. Kerekemisa zongwa & Erago moMumvho gomupe. Bon Nadel y Bon Ann Nuef. Wanikiya tonpi wowiyuskin & Omaka teca oiyokipi. Kisheri ke Kisimen & Vijung ve kiya teriyaki. Afoyo Chamo Mwake & Apoyo Mwaka Manyeni. Pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. Prieci'gus Ziemsve'tkus un Laimi'gu Jauno Gadu! Wjesole hody a strowe nowe leto. Milad Saeed wa Sanaa Mubarakah. Linksmu Kaledu ir laimingu Nauju metu. Jovi talshpivdi un Vondzist uto aigasto. Bet'oxdilt'ayi bedena' ch'exulanhde dranh ninoxudedhet. Kilisimasi ya nyakalalo & Silimo se sinca sa tabo. Amazalibwa Agesanyu & N'Omwaka Omujaa Ogwemirembe. Isuguku Indahi & Nu Muhiga Musha. Sikuku Mar Higa Kod Mor & Mar Kiga Manyien. Wai! Nyuntu Larya? Schéi Krëschtdeeg an e Schéint Néi Joer. Srekan Bozik I Nova Godina. Pada salamet sabhala bengko areja. Salama' Natal & Selamat Tahun baru. Arahaba tratry ny Krismasy. Puthuvalsara Aashamsakal. Selamat Hari Natal. Nixtieqlek Milied Tajjeb u Sena Tajba. Kristu aye namwe umu nsikunkulu ino iya Mwezi. Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan. Mepiya Pagasaulog sa pagka-otawni Jesus aw maontong kaling Omay! Mayad paq Pasko kag. Madyaw na Pasko aw malipayong Bag-ong Tuig kamayo, mga lumon. Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa. Kia orana e kia manuia rava i teia Kiritimeti e te Mataiti Ou. Shub Naya Varsh. Use aga Kirismassi. Monono ilo raaneoan Nejin & Jeramman ilo iio in ekaal. Lesilatyaj ihi Dios ta i ppule ye, Letamsek ihi wichi ta Dios ikojejthi ta i honat e. Utzul mank'inal. Enim Mutuiyo! Krismas Hlomum & Kumthar Lawmum. Festusu Natale e Bona ana noeva. k'irses mugoxuamant & axal ts'anas mugoxuamant. Zul saryn bolon shine ony mend devshuulye. Nidli pred naborete nano. Medu amiri ovuru Yesu opi amaro. Lip Ki amun aa Natal Kowe. Kirisimaasi. miywaaitaakun mikusaanor & kiyaa maamiyupiyaakw minuwaach pipuun. Mbeya mbeya Ebiel & Mbeya mbeya mbu. Esimano olyaKalunga gwokombandambanda! & Nombili kombanda yevi maantu e ya hokwa! Okrismesa iwa & Omude Mupe wa Punikwa. Prettige kerstdagen en een gelukkig nieuwjaar. krist Yesu Ko Shuva Janma Utsav Ko Upalaxhma Hardik Shuva & Naya Barsa Ko harkik. Shuvakamana. Nhu Da Ya Vintuna. Nim Ono. Monuina a Aho Kilisimasi mo e Tau Foou. Eg ynskjer hermed Dykk alle ein God Jul og Godt Nyttår. Keremisi dave be. Kristu akhale ndi inu munyengo ino ya Christmas. Mukhulukhe Omwaka. Polit nadal e bona annada. Veseloho Vam Rizdva i Shchastlyvoho Novoho Roku! Niibaa' anami'egiizhigad & Aabita Biboon. Wanto'wan amp; Hoyan. Sukhamaya christmass ebang khusibhara naba barsa. Keremisi javotoho. baga wagaa hara isinin gaye. Ungil Kurismas. Malugud Pascu at saca Masayang Bayung Banua! Maabig ya pasko & Maliket ya balon taon. Bon Pasco i Feliz Aña Nobo. De Christmas akhtar de bakhtawar au newai kal de mubarak sha. En frehlicher Grischtdaag unen hallich Nei Yaahr! Peren en Krismas & Peren en Parakapw. Wesolych Swiat i Szczesliwego Nowego Roku. Boas Festas e um feliz Ano Novo. Nave sal di mubaraka. chi woche swatx'ilal hak'ul yet yalji Komami'. Sumaj kausay kachun Navidad ch'sisipi & Mosoi Watapi sumaj kausay kachun. Dioa kkje' awuk'. Mata-Ki-Te-Rangi & Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua. Kia akakakaia te Atua i runga i te rangi Teitei, e ei au to to teianei ao, e kia aroaia mai te tangata nei. Anu keghi Christmas nu amapi kethighi wa salam pi nthu chupenle. Bella Festas daz Nadal ed in Ventiravel Onn Nov. Bachtalo krecunu Thaj Bachtalo Nevo Bers. Craciun fericit si un An Nou fericit! Mei kathui nata neila mei Khrisrmas akhatni gai mei tingkum kathan tu-na arew we. Mami tataru Kirisimasi koa gamu doduru meke qetu qetu vuaheni vaqura ia. Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva i s Novim Godom. YangI yilingiz gotlI bulsIn! Maligayang Pasko at Masayang Ba-yon Taon! Buorit Juovllat ja Buorre Oddajahki. Muwule Omwaka Enjaya. Ia manuia le Kilisimasi ma le tausaga fou. Gloire na Nzapa na ndouzou aho kouè, Na siriri na ndo sessé na popo ti ajo so amou nguia na Lo. Raska nawa Serma. Nuan wan suti jai o! Bonu nadale e prosperu annu nou. Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ur! Sihuanu'u Ejaerepa aide'ose'ere & Sihuana'u huaje ametecahue. Selemat gawai Natal. a: o'-e: sad yos-ha: -se: '. Sretan Bozic. Vesela Nova Godine. Bon Natali e Prosperu Annu Novu! Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa. Teyatie Gonezu. Mwisuka Sekukulu. ciid wanaagsan iyo sanad cusub oo fiican. Kutandika kua Yesu kuibuwa! & Kipua kipia kibuwa! Newroz le to Piroz be. Wjesole hody a strowe Nowe leto.Mahlatsi a Matswalo a Morena le Ngwaga o Moswa. Litakalerso Tse Monate Tsa Kere Semese Le Mahlohonolo a Selemo Se Secha. Vesele bozicne praznike in srecno novo leto. Vesele Vianoce a stastny novy rok. Wilujeng Natal Sareng Warsa Enggal. Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo. Wan switi kresneti nanga wan bun nyun yari! Piak Pasko Pu Piag Bago Tawn. Kerisimasi kokopai. Malipayon na pasko sanan bag-on tuig! ºKrismas Njema Na Heri Za Mwaka Mpyaº. God Jul och Gott Nytt År. Madyaw Pagsalog sa Pagka-otaw ni Jesus & Aw mauntong na bago Umay! Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon. Ia ora i te Noere e ia ora na i te matahiti 'api. Maayad ha pasko daw bag-ong tuig. Asseggwas Ameggaz. Nathar Puthu Varuda Valthukkal. Natukda Nuuphaa. Asuggas Asa'di. Pqaquasta ta. Pquasta hentang na Jesu. Suksan Wan Christmas lae Sawadee Pee Mai. Xristos Khuwdziti kax sh kaxtoolxetl. Ke whakamanuia te Kirihimahi & Tauhaga Fou fiafia. Meri Krismas & Hepi Nu Yia. Kristo abe anduwe muciindo ca Christmas. Kilisimasi Fiefia & Ta'u fo'ou monu ia. Salama' Natal & Selama' taun baru. Neekirissimas annim oo iyer seefe feyiyeech! Diledibua dilenga dia Mfumu: Tshidimu tshipia: tshipia th silenga. Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a Stastny novy rok. Keresemose o monate le masego a ngwaga o montsha. Yayaliyaya Yesu sikabi kaiwena. Kristu wabe namwe munyengo ya Christmas. Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun. Ut'ohudinch'i Hulin Dzenu & Eyum nan ek'an nenatth'at danji te yesohuthin ch'e hadaatle sh'o. Natale, Natale, Oyo O Natale & Eteke Lio Bowano, Illimo Ciwa. Naya Saal Mubarak Ho. Italo fa ide tau fou nei eseke. YanghI yiling ahlqIs bolgey! Bon Nadal i millor any nou. Rastvoidenke i Udenke Vodenke. Chuc Mung Giang Sinh: Chuc Mung Tan Nien. Yvaa rashtagoa! & Yvaa uutta vootta! Maupay nga Pasko ngan Mainuswagon nga Bag-o nga Tuig! Miri Kirijimiji & Nyuntunpa Ngurrju nyayirni yapa. Nadolig LLawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda. Winshuyu sa Svyatkami i z Novym godam! Siniqwenelela Ikrisimesi EmnandI Nonyaka Omtsha Ozele Iintsikelelo Namathamsanqa. Alussistuaqegcikici. Quyanalghii Kuusma & Quyangalleq Nutaghamun Aymiqulleq. Gute Vaynakhtn un a Gut Nay Yor. E ku odun, e hu iye' dun! Barka da Issa hay-yan hann & Barka da djiri barey-yan. Newroz'a tu Piroz be. Kerisimasi wosewa. El ma ka bar vra aso vei Lu & El ma ka kim na mireu. Sinifesela Ukhisimusi Omuhle Nonyaka Omusha Onempumelelorismas enggau Taun Baru. nga Pascua. Nollaig Shona Dhuit. Ekelere m gi maka Keresimesi na ubochi izizi afo ozo. Gleðileg Jól og Farsaelt Komandi ár! Te Mauri, Te Raoi ao Te Tabomoa nakoimi nte Kirimati ao te Ririki ae Bou. Naimbag a Pascua ken Naragsac nga Baro nga Tawen! Gotenga malo Jisasi Karaist. Selamat Hari Natal & Selamat Tahun Baru. Annaurri Aniruq & Paglaun Ukiutchiaq. Quvianaq Agaayuniqpak. Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah. Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson homungradon nagwutut & Ojenyunyat osrasay. Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo. Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto. Sugeng Natal lan warsa enggal. Bouan Noué et Bouanne Année. Assegwas ameggaz. Kotobian Tadau Do Krimas om Toun Vagu. Na vagevageha surireua na Kirisimasi ma na harisi naoru. Ngi ngayka Koei trimal Kaz. Ithiwa na Kisimsi Kiseo & Na Mwaka Mweu Museo. eman haaro wegga illisholce. Hosa Varushada Subhasayagalu. Dios tik'ujie' avik'in. Rastawanke Sinun, Uvven Vuvenke Sinun. Christmas Id Mubarak. Amirnar Krismas Gi. Krismas basuk & Snem thymmai basuk. Umunsi Mwiza. JangI jIlIngIz guttuu bolsun! Noeli Nziza & Umwaka Mwiza. Seva piroz sahibe u sersala te piroz be. Isangle Krismen & Isangle beng i fue. Khushal borit Natalam.

That should just about cover everyone.

Sincere acknowledgement... Johannes Verheijden of BOSK in the Nederlands for providing the raw material, in 333 languages.

Friday, 14 December 2007

A straw in the wind of change

Conductive Education in Italy

Many many people have contacted me over the years, and continue to contact me, asking where they might find Conductive Education, or at the very least the services of a conductor, somewhere nearby where they live.

And for years too these enquiries have included people from Italy.

I have always had to disappoint them because Italy been a blank spot on my mental map of the conductive world. I believe there was a small scheme some years ago in the German-speaking Alpine enclave in the North. In fact, I have a wonderful album of photo-studies of Bavarian roadside crosses that Peter von Quadt presented me a few years ago, apparently by the lady behind this scheme, but I never found out more and would doubt whether the information would be much use to Italians in general had I done so. In so far as I could account for this desert space in the conductive map of Europe, I did so on the (possibly ill-based) view advanced by British ‘inclusionists’ that Italy haslong abolished all special schools and anything that might look like one.

Encounter in Tel Aviv

Tsad Kadima’s conference was a great occasion for encounters, free and open ones (the latter has to be said because I have experienced so many closed and constrained ones on the past). As an example, on the conference's forst day I met Ottavia de Lellis who told me about the conductive project in Rome.

I heard from Ottavia that this has been going a few years now and, if I understood aright, conduttrice Alexandra Teofilaktu presently works with seven childrem, most now in or approaching middle childhood, plus a baby.

The project is hosted by the Scuola Elementare of the Istituto Leonarda Vaccari. Buried in the institute’s extensive website, is the following brief introductory information:

Nell´anno scolastico 2003/2004 è iniziata la collaborazione con l´Istituto Petö di Budapest e si è creata una classe elementare sperimentale che prevede l'applicazione della metodologia ‘conduttiva’ per bambini cerebrolesi, in sinergia con la Scuola e l'equipe riabilitativa del Centro. Tale metodologia è integrativa e non sostitutiva degli interventi riabilitativi e didattici. L´azione educativa realizzata nei confronti dei soggetti con disabilità, iscritti nella scuola, è garantita da costante e feconda collaborazione tra la Presidenza dell´Ente e la Dirigenza Scolastica.

I would just tremark that the new globalised world of Conductive Education that I am now confident will emerge must permit no such further black holes... and I begin to wonder what other initiatives may be out there, isolated and unsung, unknown to the conductive world in general and even to people nearby who might potentially benefit.

More on encounters in Tel Aviv soon...

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Crispin Crispian

A first brief bulletin on the Israeli conference

And gentlemen in England now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here
Henry V, as retold by W. Shakespeare

And not just gentlemen but ladies too, not just in England but throughout the United Kingdom, and everywhere in the wide world where people are struggling toward establishing Conductive Education. OK, it's not late October at the muddy eve of Agincourt but a couple of days in early December in a very comfortable hotel in Tel Aviv. But such major differences notwithstanding, this little scrap of immortal verse has swum icreasingly through my head over the days of this conference.

I regret that I was unsuccessful in attracting more people to this conference from outside the immediate ambit of Tsad Kadima. In the event the ‘British’ contingent comprised but four. Myself, Elliot Clifton (from Middle England), Tunde Rozsahegyi (an adopted Brit) and Lisa Gombinsky, an honorary Brit). But, to return to the field of Agincourt…

The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

(nowadays, of course, for ‘men’ read persons’ but it does rather ruin the scan!).

And why do I feel so positiive about Tsad Kadima’s twentieth-anniversary conference?

Well, I’ve wracked my brains but can think of no conference anywhere in any area (and I’ve been to a few) where the food was so remarkably good.

But that’s not it.

It has taken no corresponding mental effort, however, to declare that I’ve been to no conference based around Conductive Education (including the ones that I have organised myself) that has left my mind so bubbling.

And why’s that?

Not because of the formal content of presentations, though some really were rather good, but for what was scattered in all sorts of different ways in formal presentations, in their discussion and in the vital informal meetings, encounters, discussions that also filled these days. They point to change, real change.

For some time now I have been looking, sometimes anxiously, for hard concrete evidence that the weary ‘international period’ in the continuing story of Conductive Educationmay indeed soon be replaced by a period of genuine globalisation. This conference may or may or not have been a catalyst in itself (that’s one for future historians) but it certainly showed up very clearly that for much of the conductive world the latter years of the international period have comprised a mini-ice age. Yet here on a warm Israeli winter’s day (22C) one could feel the ice beginning to break, the tectonic plates to shift.

I shall post more of what has led me to this view. Watch this blog over the next week or so. And do please comment on what you read here.

Meanwhile thanks to Tsad Kadima for laying on a wonderful CE jamboree… and for giving us all good notice that the next one will be in five years’ time, on the occasion of its twenty-fifth anniversary.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

What is and is not Conductive Education?

On Friday I fly off to Israel to contribute to the Twentieth Anniversary Conference of Tsad Kadima, to what looks to be the most intellectually enriching conference around Conductive Education for a few years now. One of the things that I shall be doing will be presenting a one-day preconference workshop. I gather that there will be some fifty to sixty participants at my workshop, around thirty-five from Tsad Kadima, mainly conductors and therapists, with the rest from other facilities (doctors, representatives from the Ministry of Education, and therapists from different educational and rehabilitaton facilities in Israel). Some parents and other family member will join too. Never volunteer... frankly I'm terrified. Below is what I have promised them.

Pre-Conference Workshop
Conductive Education: Define to Defend

Moderator: Mr Andrew Sutton, Foundation for Conductive Education, Birmingham, UK

Language of the workshop: English (simultaneous translation into Hebrew)

Target population: Educational, health care and therapeutic parents, people, families and people with cerebral palsy

Date: Sunday, 9 December 2007
Time: 0830 – 1430
Venue: 'Beit Zrubavel', 15 Levontin St. Rishon LeZion

Within the space of half a century, Conductive Education has moved from being the inspiration and personal practice of one man, confined within a closed and isolated country, to an internationally dispersed range of practices in special education and rehabilitation. Its explosive expansion had been achieved without benefit of a written corpus of knowledge from its founder.
Even within its country of origin, Hungary, major adaptive change was necessary as society evolved. Then, once ‘out of the bag,’ Conductive Education has had to face far greater forces for change. The result has been faster and more diverse evolution, attempts to proceed beyond evolutionary to revolutionary change and some terrible misunderstandings.

If Conductive Education is to move beyond haphazard internationalisation, survive in more than just name and flourish to make a truly global impact, then it has to define its boundaries around explicit, justifiableunderstandings. Such boundaries must at the same time respect the core, the essence of the original inspirationand permit the flexibility essential for the globalized world of the twenty-first century.
This workshop suggests a framework for approaching the question of what can and what cannot be counted under the rubric of 'Conductive Education'.
The goals of the day are:
(1) to understand “Conductive Education” as a (continuing) historical process;
(2) to adopt critical awareness of defining terms;
(3) to distinguish false claimants to the title of 'Conductive Education';
(4) to consider the possible next stage of Conductive Education's development.

0830 – 0900 Registration, meeting and light refreshments
0900 – 1000 Deconstructing 'Conductive Education'
1000 – 1100 What is 'Conductive Education' at the start of the 21st century?

1100 – 1130 Coffee break

1130 – 1230 What is not? Problems and dangers
1230 – 1330 Reconstructing Conductive Education

1330 – 1400 Light lunch

1400 – 1430 Discussion

Not much new there to students who took my 'Pedagogy and psychology for conduction' module in their final year of the BA (Conductive Education) conductor-training at Wolverhampton University/NICE in recent years. Depending upon how next Sunday goes, I may produce a written version.


The extensive 32-page conference brochure is available it in full at

The workshop summary given above is from page 22.