Saturday, 9 February 2008

È come gli autobus…

It’s like the buses…

You wait for ages, then two come along together

In an earlier posting, ‘A straw in the wind of change’ (14 December) I had to confess that I had only just then ‘discovered’ a Conductive Education centre in Italy (well, not ‘discovered’ exactly, I was told about it by one of the ladies involved). News of this service, situated in Rome, was particularly welcome because for a long time I had been having to respond to the enquiry ‘Is there any Conductive Education in Italy?’ with that most unsatisfactory of replies, ‘Not as far as I know’.

Now close behind, in early February, here comes news of another.

The association Cerchio delle Abilità was created by a group of parents of children with cerebral palsy in Turin (Torino). Its intention is to develop Conductive Education to improve the motor skills and community-integration of school-aged children and contribute to family harmonisation.

Since September 2006 seventeen children have been working on a weekly program in three different age groups, lead by two conductors from Hungary. Four- to five-week continuous sessions are followed by a ‘stabilisation period’ in which the children work fewer hours each week in smaller groups, to stabilise the results of the previous session by keeping the effects in child and family at an acceptable level.

This is a voluntary association, funded through participants’ contributions and external donation.

The association is very keen on networking and would like to hear from other people in Conductive Education anywhere, and to correspond in return. Please get in touch:

The mathematical laws of waiting for a bus mean that there will probably be a third one along soon.

Meanwhile, Conductive Education is setting into yet another new country, adapting la pedagogia conduttiva within a new language, with new cultural and societal requirements and fresh hope and inspiration for the future.

A word of caution

The association’s website includes a nicely psycho-social account of Conductive Education for children and their families, in Italian of course. The site’s home page, however, also includes a bold statement:

La pedagogia ‘Conduttiva’ è un processo che si basa sulla intuizione che i bambini con disabilità motorie seguono un processo di sviluppo e di apprendimento identico ai bambini normodotati.

Which means, I guess:

‘Conductive pedagogy’ is a process based on the intuition that children with physical disabilities follow a process of development and learning identical to that of normal children.

Not the fault of the people in Turin, for this is something often said and read in English, sometimes by those who should know better. But in Conduction, observe what passes between both those who teach and those who are taught, and think about what conductive pedagogy seeks to do. Cerebral palsy is a motor disorder, not a motor delay, and conductive pedagogy seeks to find alternative ways to achieve to compensate, and the will and the motivation to follow these.

If the goal of orthofunction means to re-establish the normal cycle of teaching-learning transactions between child and environment (most especially, the social environment) – then so well and good. In that case ‘children with physical disabilities follow a process of development and learning identical to that of normal children’. It is the process of ‘orthofunctional spontaneity’ that is both the goal and the product of conduction here.

If, however, these words are said or read as referring to ‘skills’, ‘milestones’ etc, then be very careful indeed about what is being stated here and its possible effects on the plausibility of Conductive Education’s.


Cerchio delle Abilità

A straw in the wind of change: Conductive Education in Italy

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