Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Bibliographical blog

First in Conductive Education

An important new Conductive Education blog has commenced publication.

It is called Conductive Education Library and comes fron Gill Maguire, Librarian at the National Library of Conductive Education.


Ann Paul's pivotal contribution to Conductive Education

On Friday 20 June the Foundation for Conductive Education held its Annual Awards Ceremony at the National Institute of Conductive Education in Birmingham, England, at which Ann Paul was presented with the Founder's Medal in recognition of her services to Conductive Education..

Below is the 'economium' that I delivered at the Ceremony, partly in further honour of Annie and partly so that this pivotal point in the history of Conductive Education be more widely understood.
Economium for Annie 

1 April 1986, twenty-two years ago. How different our world was.

Some of the young people whose apotheosis to conductors we recognise to-day were not even born, and most of the others were no more than one or two years old.

Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev. The Cold War. The Iron Curtain. And Conductive Education.

Yes, Conductive Education had been heard of in the West, heard of, misunderstood and forgotten, by the start of the eighties relegated  to a mere footnote in a paediatric text-book, just one another thing that had been tried in the West, and found wanting. That was the context in which, in 1984, the late Mária Hári agreed with me to transfer Conductive Education to the United Kingdom. All I had to do was find the money to pay for this. 

The project was opposed by the start, vehemently and at times viciously. The opposition included the then Spastics Society, the then Department of Education and Science, many of the professionals working with motor-disordered children and, surprisingly to some, many who had previously worked to implement on their own terms what little they knew of this work. Even so, despite this opposition, some money was pledged to our project, but not enough to start.

After a year the patience of my sponsors was beginning to run dry. I changed the strategy. If the professionals, the charities, the bureaucrats would not play ball, then we would ignore them and go over their heads to the people who paid them, to their political masters. To drive the politicians we would need the will of the people, and to get that we needed the media. 

An article planted in the Guardian newspaper caught the attention of a British family, the Horsleys. Quite seperately it also caught the attention of a BBC documentary producer. I was able to put the two in touch with each other and in 1985 production began on the film Standing up for Joe, depicting the Horseleys' first experience of Conductive Education, in Budapest. The film was shown on BBC 1, at peak viewing, straight after the Nine O’Clock News, on 1 April 1986. Eleven thousand people wrote to the BBC wanting to know more. Bootleg videos went around the world. At parental insistence, other national networks broadcast the film. A little over a year later an  impactful follow-up film was broadcast, from the same source, To Hungary with Love, showing the unprecedented internationalisation of Conductive Education already under way. The rest, as they say, is history.

Why were those two films, Standing up for Joe and To Hungary with Love, so impactful, not just for the families of disabled children but even for the population at large, people with no personal reasons to know or care about disability? So impactful were they, in fact, that more that twenty years later people still remember watching them. 

To answer this question one has to remember just how different the world was then. An important reason for the widespread fascination of this film can be summed up by a frequent local newspaper headline over the next few years, announcing yet another hopeful family setting of in the Horsleys' footsteps, something like ‘Brave mum off behind the Iron Curtain’. This was a Len Deighton Cold War story, coming from a suburban street near you. I cannot convey the force of this to younger people today except by asking them to imagine that something analogous were to be developed in Iran, generating a similar mass movement of families and their disabled children. ‘Brave mum off to Teheran’. No, they cannot imagine such a thing ever happening.

But in 1986, just as implausible at that time, Standing up for Joe did spark such a movement, first here then very quickly in other countries. A year later To Hungary with Love was able to show the first fruits of this, parents from around the world turning their eyes to Budapest.  

And of course part of the reason comes from the very nature of the films, from how and what they projected. 

Were they good films? Yes and no. For the first and perhaps the last time they opened Conductive Education up publicly to convey the deep wells of emotion, determination, love and hope that lie at the heart of this work. At a technical, pedagogic level some of the things said make me now squirm a little. Had I understood Conductive Education better then I could have given the film-makers better advice. And the late Mária Hári did allow herself to say something to camara that was unguarded and ill-judged. But these are details, technical details.

I have long held that the spirit of an education can be only fully conveyed by a work of the imagination. Never mind about details apparent to the wisdom of hindsight. Technical specifics are of course important, but the overall whole is more important still. As films, they were deeply affecting; as propaganda, masterly; as agents for social change, priceless. We got our popular and political support, the money crystallised and within eight months the Foundation for Conductive Education had been established on a national wave of public enthusiasm. More importantly for the grand scheme of things, the world got Conductive Education, and Conductive Education found a new future.

Always be careful of ‘What-if history’. On the other hand, had it not been for these two films, particularly Standing up for Joe, it is reasonable to say that none of us would be in this room today, indeed there would be no room, no National Institute, no training for conductors here in the United Kingdom. Indeed, there might well be no Conductive Education at all in the United Kingdom, or in Norway, or in New Zealand, or anywhere else for that matter. Further, over the years many people in Hungary have assured me that, without the events that sprang directly from Standing up for Joe, by now Conductive Education would have long vanished in Hungary too. 

Who was responsible for this? Who was our salvation? Mike and Lisa Horsley, the two parents in Standing up for Joe were incomparable. Roger Mills' script and Richard Denton’s commentary were masterful. Many others in the BBC and in Hungary made vital contributions. But pride of place has to go to the Producer and Director of these two films, who first spotted this story in the Guardian, followed it up, developed it, orchestrated it, and in doing so brought Conductive Education to the world: Ann Paul. 

It is a privilege to present Ann Paul with this simple medal. It bears the Latin tag ab esse ad posse, ‘From what is to what can be’. This is a telling enough motto for Conductive Education as a whole, in its confident purpose to transform present and knowable human lives, to create something new and unknowable.

Annie, it also nicely sums up what you have done for us all. 

There is a prevalent, teleological understanding that the internationalisation of Conductive Education was somehow inevitable, a continuation of a long steady growth in interest that arose out of the inherent virtues of this system. This was far from the case. The explosion of public, political and media interest that occurred in 1986 was deliberately engineered for a specific purpose, and everything that stemmed from this, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, was an unforeseen by-product. Ann Paul's economium published here offers a small window on to this process.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Viktor Frankl on love – 2 (longer)

Extended narrative

In November last year I made a first very brief acquaintance with Franz Schaffhauser, the new Rektor of the Pető Institute in Budapest, on the basis of which I ventured the opinion that ‘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.' (Sutton 2007). The last couple of days I have been able to spend considerably longer with him, discussing the history of ideas, swapping information and exploring all sorts of questions of theory and practice.

My first impression has been more than born out. He is indeed ‘a nice bloke’ and just the man the place needs. I wish the best of luck to him.

Finding Frankl

During Franz's visit here to Birmingham (see a slightly later posting) he presented me with a pithily inscribed copy of the second edition of the English edition of Viktor Frankl’s seminal book, Man’s Search for Meaning (Franz is the translator of the Hungarian edition). Actually, Franz's search for a copy of this to present me, in the big Waterstone’s bookshop in New Street, Birmingham, gave unexpected but concrete illustration of an issue that we were to discuss later that day in more theoretical terms.. This was the gulf (the chasm!) that has opened up between what the Anglo-Saxons mean by the word ‘science’, and the Wissenschaft, the tudomány, the nauka (наука) of Central-Eastern Europe. This may all seem highly abstract but it presents real problems for Conductive Education both back home in Hungary and here in the English-speaking West.

He had looked unsuccessfully for Frankl’s little book in the academic psychology section on the third floor of the bookshop and, having failed to find it, set off hopefully to ask the nice lady at the service desk up there. I did not think that he would have much luck. On the contrary: ‘You won’t find that up here,’ the lady said, ‘it’s on the next floor down, under philosophy. I’ll go and get you a copy’.

Franz was amazed at the English classification of this book – though this came as no surprise to me. I was, however, a little surprised when she added, ‘I know we’ve got one, because I sold another copy from there only this morning’. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, the book is after all an international best-seller. Maybe I should just get out more – out of Conductive Education, that is. Maybe a lot of people should.


As many do I tore through a quick first reading of this gripping little book. Along the way I was pulled up short by the following paragraph:


Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being until he loves him. By his love he is able to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; end even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualised but which ought to be actualised. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualise these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true. (Frankl, 2004, p.116)

There is so little said about ‘love’ in the public explication and evaluation of Conductive Education (see for example Sutton, 2008a). Those who have heard my lectures on conductive pedagogy will recognise the congruence of Viktor Frankl’s position to my own view of the role of ‘love’ in effective, transforming pedagogy, and the fundamental implications of this for the nature of conductors’ professionalism and the role of parents/carers. I make no apology therefore to returning here to this vital but largely unsung ‘principle’ of conductive pedagogy, and will doubtless do so again.

I am not suggesting here that András Pető ‘based his method on Frankl’ – there is more than enough such nonsense of this sort about already to need Frankl’s logotherapy (Sutton, 2008b), to be thrown into the already indigestible mix. What I am saying, and I shall reiterate this next month in Chicago to the conductivists of North America (Sutton, 2008c), is that Conductive Education in the form in which we know it around the world today stands on three ‘legs’. One of these legs comprises a nexus of features like faith, hope, love, pedagogic optimism, ‘soul’ (for example, Mallett, 2008), and what Mária Hári (1988) struggled to articulate as ‘the human principle’ (and the greatest of these is…).

Frank’s formulation quoted above represents a powerful strand of thought around the place and time of the origin and development of the origins of Conductive Education, though that might be termed Jewish-German-liberal – or in this context, more generally as German-liberal or, more generally still, just plain liberal. Whichever you prefer, this thread of meaning contrasts radically with the stiff, mechanistic notion of ‘professionalism’ that permeates so much contemporary practice in heath, social welfare and education here in the West. Nor does it fit with and the often loveless psychological science that modern professionalism invokes to justify its status.

The Brit in the bookshop was not surprised to hear that a major international writer on human practice is classified and shelved downstairs in philosophy, well away from the professional ‘literature’: the Central European visitor was. To me this speaks volumes of the wall of incomprehension between on one side Conductive Education, its practitioners and proponents, and on the other the professionals and their institutions that so often comprise its day-to-day working environment.

And because I swim in the Anglo-Saxon sea, this posting will be found indexed in the left-hand column of Conductive Education News, under 'philosophy'. Whatever the Europeans think, that just seems more 'right' to me...

A practical example

As I was drafting this posting Google came through to inform me of a new posting on the blog of Lynne Featherstone, Member of Parliament for Hornsey and Wood Green in North London. She wrote to explain why something in her constituancy duties that day had made her cry:

Yesterday went to launch the sports day for the Hornsey Trust for Children with Cerebral Palsy... one of the only places in the whole of London where from the age of six months parents can take their child to a conductive education school...

And you know - can you imagine what it is like? You give birth - with all the hope in your heart that nothing is wrong - and then you are told that your child has cerebral palsy. A new world that you never wanted to take part in lies in front of you. What does it mean? Where can I get help? What will my child be capable of? So many questions and so many battles ahead.When you become the parent of a child with disabilities - you will spend so much of your time researching and fighting to get what your child needs. Of course - it should be there - but it it often isn't.

Many parents come to me because they cannot get Haringey (or whatever local authority) to fund their child's education or care. And when the policy is mainstreaming - there is a great resistance to special facilities.That is now beginning to change - as the consequences of the policy have become clear - that in some cases mainstreaming is appropriate; in some cases it isn't and in some cases half the week in each is the best solution.
Anyway - back to sports day. Three groups of children up to the age of seven with about six or seven children in each group were doing races. The first group were mobile with a variety of help - of walking frames or without - and they went around a simple obstacle course. The conductive method seems to work off intense one to one encouragement and help to urge the child to take the next move. It is a kind of patterning - but I am no expert. At the finish lines, siblings, parents and relatives rejoice - and the little ones faces full of beams. The point is that they have achieved!

The next group less mobile - but in a short distance to a finishing tape - they crawled using their elbows or whatever - each with a helper urging them on each and every step. And the last group even less mobile - literally encouraged to roll to the finish line.

It is intense and it must be exhausting for the trainers - but the children from all the groups absolutely loved it. And the effort and the love in that room meant that tears rolled down my face continually. Don't get me wrong - no-one else cried - they were all happy. But I cried because the achievement was huge and the road so hard and the bravery and the love so strong.

And I spoke to quite a few of the parents - and the struggle they have had to get the funding to have their child here rather than where their local authority wanted the child to go. For parents here - they have seen what this method can achieve. The normal method puts them in a wheelchair and, the parents feel, condemns them to a very limited life. I met one parent of a girl who had not been able to walk - now she walks. For some the improvements are small by 'normal' standards - but they are all about improving quality of life and maximising what each child can do - and as a parent that is what you want.

Good politicking, Hornsey, would that more CE centres did such things – and would that more MPs should have the ’soul’ to appreciate what is involved here at a human level, and then come forward and express this like Lynne Featherstone has tried to do.

But ‘Ouch!’ (and putting aside her comment on ‘one-to-one’), look at the soulless analogy that she draws, ‘patterning’ of all things, in trying to understand what is going on. No matter whether this was her own formulation or had been fed to her, at a personal, human level she has already identified a vital, central component of conductive pedagogy, and shows herself well able to articulate it. No fault of hers (but such a pity!) that she then feels obliged to abandon this in favour of the sort of Mickey Mouse mechanism that our society seems expect. Don't blame her, pin it on the Zertgeist.

And if an attuned, articulate politician can miss the trick here, no wonder evaluation of Conductive Education in the Anglo-Saxon West has been such a destructive and damaging kybosh!

Notes and references

The Hornsey Trust

Kybosh, or kibosh. The word has now made it into Standard English, meaning ‘put a stop to’, ‘prevent from continuing’, ‘halt’. It was originally a low slang or jocular expression, Eric Partridge’s Dictionary (1984) defining it both as a verb, ‘To ruin, spoil, check, bewilder, knock out’ and as a noun, ‘Nonsense, anything valueless’ (p. 641). I am hard-put to think of a better term to cover much of the evaluative research on Conductive Education.


Featherstone, L. (2008) Why I cried yesterday, Lynne’s Parliament and Haringey Diary, 22 June

Frankl, V. E. (2004) Man’s Search for Meaning: the classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust, London, Rider

Hari, M. (1988) The Human Principle in Conductive Pedagogy, Budapest, Pető Institute

Mallett, S. (2008) SoulBack to the Seele, Conductor, 20 April

Partridge, E. (1984) A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English: colloquialisms and catch phrases, fossilised jokes and puns, general nicknames, vulgarisms, and such Americanisms as have been naturalised. London, Routledge and Kegan Paul

Sutton, A. (2007) Tel Aviv encounters, Conductive Education World, 29 December 2007

Sutton, A. (2008a) The 'soul' in Conductive Education, Conductive Education World, 22 March

Sutton, A. (2008b) Stretching not shrinking, Conductive Education World 12 February

Sutton, A (2008c) Three legs: first thoughts for Chicago Keynote, Conductive Education World, 7 June

Viktor Frankl on love – 1 (short)


Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being until he loves him. By his love he is able to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; end even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualised but which ought to be actualised. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualise these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true. (Frankl, 2004, p.116)

Frankl. V. E. (2004) Man’s Search for Meaning: the classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust, London, Rider
A longer account and discussion follow, in the next posting.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008


Founder’s Medal for Ann Paul

Friday 20 June is a big day at the National Institute of Conductive Education in Birmingham, England, the Annual Awards Ceremony of the Foundation or Conductive Education.

This ceremony was established in the year 2000 when the Institute’s first cohort of student-conductors completed their studies. The course is run in conjunction with the University of Wolverhampton, from which students will graduate later in the summer with the degree of BA (Conductive Education). But the Foundation for Conductive Education has considered it important to grant a separate qualification that recognises the new conductors’ practical rather than ‘academic’ skills, based upon the student’s actual practice work with childen and adults over the course of their time at NICE. This is called Qualified Conductor Status (QCS) and is awarded by the Foundation each year at this separate Awards Ceremony.


Student numbers are fairly small (there will be a dozen new conductors awarded QCS this year), a friendly and fairly informal ‘family’ affair. That said, the event incorporates the traditional pomp and flummery of the English university graduation ceremony – or school speech day. There’s a procession of conductor-tutors from NICE, followed by relevant academic staff at the University. Academic dress is worn (including the conductors’ robes that I designed when all this started eight years ago!) The new Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Chauhdry Abdul Rashid JP, will preside, in full fig. There is a prize for the year's best student-practitioner, and long-service awards for staff.

The audience comprises parents and family of the new conductors, and staff and guests of the Foundation. Guests this year include:
  • Tor Inge Martinsen, outgoing Chairman (Styreleder) of the Norsk Forum for Konduktiv Pedagogikk, in Norway
  • Dave Turnbull, Principle of Cashmere High School in Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Cllr Sue Anderson,  Cabinet Member for Social Services, City of Birmingham.
The speech day element is represented by a special address, delivered this year by Professor Franz Schaffhauser, Rektor of the Pető Institute in Budapest.

Founder’s Medal

The Founder’s Medal was established to mark my retirement as Director. I confer it annually on people without whom things would have been very different.

This year I have recognised the contribution of Ann Paul, without whom the world of Conductive Education would have been very, very different indeed. What indeed if Annie had not made the television film Standing up for Joe? With the wisdom of hindsight it seems very unlikely that there would have ever been an internationalisation of Conductive Education in any recognisable form, if at all, and the very survival of Conductive Education even at home in Hungary, must be counted as being at least questionable. For all this she will receive a simple enamel badge bearing the Latin tag ab esse ad posse, and a plain certificate.

I shall report the Award Ceremony further, in a few days’ time.


The Latin tag ab esse ad posse, ‘From what is to what can be’, comes from a mediaeval rule of logic going back to Aristotle. More fully it is stated as ab esse ad posse valet, that is:
 [The inference] from what is to what can be, is a sound one 
Latin can be such a concise language!

This is a telling motto for Conductive Education, in its confident purpose to transform present and knowable human lives, to create something new and unknowable. It also conveys the founding social goal of the Foundation for Conductive Education, to transform how things are done and understood.

Easily said, but achieving these purposes, individual and social, can be terribly hard. The Foundation has been very lucky indeed to have met the right people at the right time to help it along the long, difficult road towards the conductive revolution.

The Founder’s Medal, with its inscription ab esse ad posse, recognises some of these contributions, some of those people without whom…


Do not rule it out

The question

On 10 June ‘HowardL’ appended a by-the-way enquiry to the Comments page of an earlier posting (A hard call to make, 16 May):

Not a comment but a question really. Do you have any evidence for or against the use of C.E. in children with Downs Syndrome? Thanks for any help.
No one else has responded so I had better do so myself. The question raised and its ramifications are too important to relegate to the tag-end of a Comments list on a different topic, so I deal with them up front here, not least in the hope that they will stimulate further Comments below, based upon practical experience.

Simple answer: No. One may sometimes see it written, however, that Conductive Education is specifically counter-indicated for Down’s syndrome. This is not in fact so.

Children with motor disorder and Down’s syndrome

Conductive pedagogy is often erroneously reported as having been developed primarily for children with motor disorders, even specifically for children with cerebral palsy. It cannot be restated too often that this also was not so. Given this widespread misapprehension, however, some may find it easier if I start with children who have motor disorders and Down’s children.

There is no a priori reason why some children might not begin life with the physiological basis for both developmental disorders. I have never seen any figures for this, and I suspect that none exist, but one may guestimate an order of magnitude for the incidence of such a double disability by multiplying a favoured figure for the incidence of cerebral palsy bya figure for the incidence of Down’s syndrome. No doubt further assumptions might lead to an ad hoc prevalence figure. If my reasoning is at fault here I will welcome correction but, whatever the arithmetic involved, the incidence and prevalence of congenital cerebral palsy x Down’s syndrome will be in practical terms be very rare.

There is however a special case of acquired double disability that might occur. Children with Down’s syndrome may have grave cardiac problems and these requiring surgery to save their lives. Surgery carries a risk and sometimes things do go wrong, leaving a Down’s child with a satisfactorily repaired heart, and brain damage with attendant spasticity. One such child has attended the National Institute of Conductive Education (NICE) since it opened in 1995. His heart operation had led to a stroke and he was hemiplegic, the accident happening early enough in life for his hemiplegia to be counted as a cerebral palsy.

Whether the cerebral palsy is congenital or acquired, children with such double disabilities pose the same challenges to conductors and to their parents as do any other children with developmental motor disorders compounded by significant intellectual disabilities. They may also, of course, have further problems associated with the either condition, with compounding effects upon their learning and development, their pedagogy and upbringing. With respect to the Down’s syndrome, the most common of these will likely be conductive hearing loss. A competent conductive service should be able to take all such problems in its stride.

Children with Down’s and no motor disorder

I have often been asked over the years ‘What about CE for children with just Down’s syndrome?’ Indeed what about CE for a host of other intellectual-disability syndromes. The answer has to be 'If you can find a conductor willing to develop this work, why not?’

Because of the historical development of conductive pedagogy within its particular institutional and social context in Hungary in the years before its internationalisation, conductors’ training and experience was almost exclusively directed towards motor disorders. The name of the institution where conductors were trained made this very clear: it was for motor disorders. Conductors who trained at the Pető Institute have always known that children with additional moderate and more severe learning difficulties have been eligible for conductive upbringing because groups for them have been an integral part of the service offered there.. These groups have their own curriculum, the children’s progress would be slower and ultimate outcomes reduced.

When conductors broke free from their parent institution and began working very different situations around the world, some met a wider range of clients than those with whom they trained. A first response was at times to declare such children ‘unsweetable’ (unsuitable). This notwithstanding, there has now been considerable extension of Conductive Education’s accepted client group into very severe and complex learning disabilities (though this experience has yet to be explicitly crystallised/described, anywhere – so please don’t ask!).

In this diversifying context the question about CE for children with one specific condition, Down's syndrome, is actually rather artificial. Down’s syndrome is one chromosome disorder, albeit one with a long documented history. There are other, less well known. Currently the parent-and-child service at NICE includes children with chromosome 16q deletion, unbalanced dislocation of chromosome 22, chromosome duplication and cri de chat syndrome (another chromosome disorder). In the past there has also been a child with trisomy mosaic symptom, all these amongst a range of other children, most though not all of whom have motor disorders of some kind. Conductive pedagogy and upbringing are brought to bear for the sake of all these children and their families, adapted to suit the particular developmental needs manifest in individual cases.

To enquire more about the parent-and child service at NICE, contact:


There is no fee for attendance.

A dedicated group for children with Down’s syndrome

I have known of only one specifically service specifically structured for children with Down's syndrome. An alternative health centre in Islington in North London, PALACE for All, provides conductor sessions according to conductor-availability. A while back this certainly included a small group for children with Down’s syndrome. I do not know much about this but, if you would like to know more, you could contact Sue King, the Co-ordinator at PALACE for All:


The mother of one of the children who went there is photographer Maria de Fatima Campos who has created a handsome web-album of her daughters Victoria’s first three years of life:


You might care to enquire of her, too:

I am sure that there must be other experiences, publicly unsung. If you do know of anything, do please make it known.

Some theoretical considerations

Less commonly than hitherto, there are conductors who shy away from the unfamiliar – and are correspondingly less willing to take on the challenge of what at first sight might appear unknown. (This reaction is not unique to conductors of course. Institutions often respond in the same way to the notion of ‘CE for Down’s syndrome’).

At one level such conductors (and institutions) have a point. The day-to-day practices of conductive pedagogy have been developed very much in terms of the manifest problems facing children with motor disorders. As suggested above, children with both Down’s syndrome and motor disorder are very rare indeed but when they do appear, they present familiar conductive-pedagogic problems. Take away the motor disorder, however, given a child who ‘simply’ has Down’s syndrome, then what is there for the conductor actually to do?

In part, an obvious bridge from children with motor disorders to those with with Down’s syndrome is that all sorts of motor skills may be delayed for Down's children, presenting in younger children at least what look familiar pedagogic tasks. I used to think that there may have been a useful distinction to be made between ‘delayed’ and ‘disordered’ development, but now I am less sure. Whatever the underlying cause, it sets off a complex transactional chain of psycho-social (and bodily) learning and mislearning for child and family (Vygotskii’s ‘dislocation of development’). Whatever the cause, be it sensory, motoric, or an intellectual impairment like in Down’s syndrome, the pedagogic tasks are the same: understand the likely mechanisms involved, and seek to establish more effective reciprocity, create mutual bonds and the joy and satisfaction of learning. The disciplines of conductive pedagogy as learned by conductors probably provides as useful a framework as any for developing an appropriate pedagogy for bringing about ‘orthofunctional spontaneity’ in the presence of Down’s syndrome.

Or one might wish to blend conductive pedagogy with an existing approach. Reuven Feuerstein’s mediated learning, developed originally for children whose development had been interrupted or deformed by their experience of the Holocaust was itself subsequently adapted for working with children with Down’s syndrome (a model for adapting an existing pedagogic approach to a different developmental disorder). Feuerstein himself is very keen to encourage a coming together of mediated learning and conductive pedagogy (see for example, posting of 21 November 2007, Conductive Education and Feuerstein).

For a conductor or institution willing and able to innovate, there seems no end of innovation and humane advantage to developing conductive services for children with Down’s syndrome, with theoretical grounds to justify this and to point to means of practical action. One has to wonder, however, whether the developed world has much space to permit such innovation, which may have to be left to newer nations at earlier stages of service-development.

There are three further theoretical dimensions to the question raised by HowardL. First: the reasoning presented above, to open out conductive pedagogy to children without motor disorders applies of course to all children, not just those with Down’s syndrome and not just those with disabilities. Secondly, there is nothing especially magical about conductive pedagogy: there are many ‘transformative educations’ (and potentially many, many more) that share the same overall goals (transform human development). Thirdly: let us not restrict the discussion to pedagogy alone, but always remember always the potentially positive (and negative) contributions to human development of the various dimensions of upbringing (conductive or otherwise): the ‘horizontal’ dimension of the family as whole; the ‘longitudinal’ dimension of the life-span; and the ‘societal’ dimension of the contribution of the big wide world.

I do hope that these very general observations are of some help in response to your question – and that others can offer you some more specific guidance.

Footnote: adults

NB I have dealt solely with children here. There seems no fundamental reason, however, to restrict what I have written here to any single age-group. I have to admit that for some time now my only personal observations of people with Down’s syndrome and adults with other ‘learning disabilities’, has been restricted to little groups whom I see walking with care staff in Cannon Hill Park and elsewhere.These fill me with the overwhelming desire to see the provision of a little conductive pedagogy for adults with intellectual disabilities, Down's syndrome or otherwise – any pedagogy!


de Fatima Campos, M. (2001) Victoria and me


Tuesday, 17 June 2008

A window on to hope

Analogies from psychotherapy

The question of ‘hope’ and its essential position in conductive pedagogy has been raised more that once on Conductive Education World (see for example Sutton, 2008). Like everything else in Conductive Education this is not something unique to this field. I was therefore interested to see hope emerge as part-theme of an article in this month’s International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, expressed there in relation to ‘mental heath’ problems (Bassett et al., 2008).

In fact there was only a little specifically on hope in this article but the references may be of use to others seeking to elaborate on this aspect of conductive-pedagogic practice.The article summarises hope as follows:

Hope. Clarke (2003) discusses the problem of demoralisation that occurs for people who are struggling with the impact of mental illness on their lives. He stated that it is characterised by a loss of hope. Hope is a factor that relates to an individual’s view of the future and, as such, is related to outcomes about one’s life (Nunn, 1196) … Clarke (2003) notes that hope is not just cognition or thought but is affective and volitional. It is a longing for something that may not be certain but is at least possible. People without hope have far poorer health outcomes than those who do (Clarke, 2993). Hope leads to a conviction that one’s future and meaning is [sic] inherently valuable (Spencer et al. 1997). This in turn encourages recovery (Nunn, 1996; Jacobson and Greenly, 2001). (p.256)

The article then tangles up further discussion of this important factor in terms of its possible relationship with ‘spirituality’, by which it means religious faith, as though there were no possibility of hope in other contexts, or even a non-religious concept of ‘spirit’, ‘soul’ or ‘psyche’.

The article then continues with a couple of to me vague approaches to ‘assessment’ of faith/spirituality and a couple of none-too-concrete ways of including spirituality/hope in intervention. At the level of general principle, however, it does seem reassuringly familia:

Developing hope. With regard to instilling hope, there are several practical steps, such as emphasising the importance of establishing a vision for the future, finding out what individuals want to become and highlighting the fact that development of hope is an evolving process. Practitioners can then equip people with specific problem-solving skills to get over the obstacles to achieving the vision… one of the most powerful tools available to practitioners is to help individuals find hope through the experience of engaging in meaningful activities and achieving small goals leading to more possibilities in the medium or longer term. This in turn creates a belief in possibilities, which were thought lost or were never imagined (Spencer et al., 1997). (p. 258)

This is a little more concrete and suggests that the academic study of hope in psychiatry, at least as reported in the article reported here, may have rather more to learn in practice from Conductive Education than vice versa.

Mental illness?

This article concerned ‘mental illness’ and by extension psychotherapy, mentioning specifically ‘spiritually-augmented cognitive behavioural therapy’. There as those who insist on calling Conductive Education 'a therapy' though, as I have insisted for more than twenty years, this is only really meaningful if it is thought of as a psycho-therapy (in which case the analogy can be highly heuristic). From this viewpoint the window opened on to a different literature by the review article of Bassett et al (2008) may prove useful to those looking furtherto broaden Conductive Education’s slowly spreading academic base.


Bassett, H., Lloyd, C. Tse S. (2008) Approaching in the right spirit: spirituality and hope in recovery from mental health problems, International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, vol. 15, no 6, pp. 254-259

Clarke, D. (2003) Faith and hope. Australasian Psychiatry, vol. 11, no 2, pp. 164-168

Jacobson, N., Greenley, D. (2001) What is recovery? A conceptual model and explication. Psychiatric Services, vol. 52, April, pp. 482-485

Nunn,K. (1996) Personal hopefulness: a conceptual review of the relevance of the perceived future in psychiatry, British Journal of Medical Psychology, vol. 69, pp. 227-245

Spencer, J. Davidson, H., White, V. (1997) Helping clients develop hopes for the future, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, vol. 51, no 3, pp. 91-198

Sutton, A. (2008) Know hope: hope for the future, Conductive Education World, 2 January

Postscript: commentaries

The article by Bassett et al. is followed immediately by three brief commentaries (pp. 260-1), written by three other academics/practitioners, only one of whom touches upon the issue of hope, all three of concentrating on the ‘spiritual’.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

‘Conductive facilitation abolishes itself’

What is ‘facilitation’?

Definition: a legitimate requirement
Rony Schenker writes to ask:

Am looking for some written material on FACILITATION. Gill sent me several references but it seems as if there is very little on this topic and rather unsatisfactory. I would be so happy if you gave it paragraph (or more) on your blog sometime. Eager to here your interpretation.

Students often ask me the same question, not just about ‘facilitation’ but about other such 'conductive words' too. They have searched Gill’s pretty comprehensive Library and looked up the word in the catalogue, hoping presumably (and reasonably) to find something dedicated to answering their question. Or they have tried to Google it. In both instances they run into the same problem: there is no rally satisfactory material specifically on this topic – though they do find various mentions in different places, some of which are informed and some quite misunderstood, at odds with their developing understanding of the process of conduction. The same is frequently the case when they try to read up on other aspects of conductive pedagogy.

Behind this lie two further problems that beset much of conductive pedagogy. First, conductors who do understand this and similar concepts, and manifest them daily in their practice, do not articulate and then publish their understandings in accessible written form. The emerging technical literature on the actual nuts and bolts of conductive pedagogy remains therefore miniscule, ceding the field to those whose understanding may be less than complete – or outright wrong. Secondly, and more fundamentally, there is an issue inherent in the very nature of conductive pedagogy itself. If it is to be really ‘conductive’, bringing together all the systemic aspects of development and pedagogy within a single, unifying process, it is very hard, perhaps impossible, to reduce it to separate components of the process (facilitation for example). Each such ‘component’ (if that is the right term) is inextricably bound up in its execution with others in theirs and, further, the practical execution of all of these will evoke different activities and relationships according to the individual circumstances of the moment.

Complicated? Well yes, dynamic transactional systems always are. To grasp them, first one has to express them in reduced, ideal forms and, while these can then be expressed much, much more simply, it must always be remembered that their practical implementation will be much more complex. That’s one reason that it is such a long, hard job to produce a conductor, in whom such understandings and activities have to be brought together in an intuitive whole – a ‘conductive’ process in itself if ever there was one!

Hence people’s frustration at trying to find clear, explicit and generalisable theoretical statement of conductive facilitation in written texts. Rony’s requirement is a very reasonable one and, if conductive pedagogy is ever to become an acceptable and acknowledged academic-professional discipline, such theoretical formulations will have to be proposed, discussed and widely accepted. So here in response, and at some rush, is what little I can offer to help towards constructing an ‘ideal’, theoretical understanding of facilitation, derived from my own interacting with the conductive system and concretised in a few quotations that I have readily to hand. Inevitably, in the light of what I have written above, these quotations illustrate how in practice ideal theoretical principles are in practice enmeshed or tangled up with other constructs, other activities, within the wider complex whole.

How Mária Hári answers

As on all matters to do with the actual practice of conductive pedagogy, the chief textual source has to be Mária Hári. With the usual warning about too heavy a reliance on exegesis, the following quotations from her work that I have immediately to hand, do hammer home the central meaning of what she means by ‘facilitation’

[The conductor] helps the child to success by means of facilitations. One of her main tasks is to provide the child with experience of success. Facilitation is a device that eventually helps the child to carry out the task independently with less and less aid. Conductive facilitation abolishes itself. (in Maguire and Sutton, 2004, p.36)

For me, that just about sums up the principle involved. Here are some other quotations from her, unclassified and in no particular order other than that in which I have them stored, to hammer the home both the ideal statement and its interconnectivity with other ‘ideals’ manifest in the practice of conductive pedagogy.

The child does not always find the way of doing something, he must be conducted. With the aid of applied inductive facilitations sometimes we obtain the result in a round-about way. On the other hand, after experience of successful movement, we make children aware of the activity that they have accomplished. This means that if the child has carried out the task in some way, perhaps with the help of applied facilitations, we identify the result as a realised task solution. We make the child realise immediately exactly what he has done by relating it to the second signalling system, speech. The child also becomes familiar with his movements by learning to express what he is doing in words too. Children are always aware of the starting point and result when carrying out a task. Inductive facilitation offers an opportunity for activisation, moreover it gives the child the possibility of feeling that he has discovered the solution by himself. By this method his inclination for solving tasks develops. (ibid., p. 39)

Conductive observation serves the following purpose: the conductor can give supplementary information when the child’s own reafferents are not sufficient. The conductor keeps in mind the individual way of carrying out a task and before the next occasion she reminds the child of the right way of doing it. When repeating the tasks she decreases the facilitations until the task tied to the intention is carried out successfully, without facilitation. (ibid., p. 39)

Those who think that they are using Conductive Education and describe what they are doing as preparation of functional skills – and speak about the purpose of motor activity – are misunderstanding Conductive Education. It is intention (without spasticity) that has to be learned, through conscious target-reaching which provides experience, sensation, memory and parametrisation. The teacher helps by education, through guidance and advice. Facilitation is also achieved by self-produced rhythm, dynamism and the group situation. (ibid., pp.101-2)

If the facilitation is equipment of some kind, it is never a complicated prosthetic instrument to which the dysfunctional would become a slave, but a simple object normally at hand. (Hári and Ákos, 1988, p. 196)

Rhythmical intention is another form of facilitation. It has two functions, firstly to make activity voluntary and second, rhythm. The organisation and conformity of a group is principally ensured by the daily schedule. (ibid., 1988, p. 209)
Conduction… one has to provide the right experiences (not just stimulated exercise using various facilitations based on neurophysiology, nor conditioning suitable for taming rats, dogs, pigeons, geese and apes) but through controlled input. (Hári, 1990, p.4)

In this sense facilitation consists not of technical… neurophysiological… or other ways of making it easier to carry out a task; it consists first and foremost of eliciting activity and spontaneity. (Hári, 2001, p. 81)

Again it has to be said, these examples do indicate how the ideal conductive-pedagogic notion of facilitation is in practice inextricably tangled up with others.

What András Pető said

As usual, there is very little indeed that I know of. There is nothing specific in the two books written under the name of Karl Otto Bärnklau, though it may well be that a closer reading than I can offer might find common philosophical underpinnings. I do, however, have before me a document of three-and-a-half cyclostyled pages, in English, from the late sixties. This is called 'Peto's proverbs, or truth in a nutshel' and I have two, very slightly different versions, one under the name of Ester Cotton and the other under that of James House. I once ventured to guess from internal evidence which was the original and got into terrible trouble, so I won’t repeat that error now! Three of these aphoristic snippets concern conductive facilitation:

Always establish least amount of facilitation needed. Corollary: conductor is a failure if she always repeats with the same amount of aid.

Counting always facilitates movement, but movement also facilitates counting.

Help is never given for support, only for direction.

Make of that what you will.

What some others say

This is what Károly and Magda Ákos wrote in an important but never published document (as subsequently rendered into Standard English by myself):

For the conductor, following the task series is defence against tedious repetition of all the postures learned solution of certain tasks It helps her to remember and keep record of the facilitation needed by each child. It helps her to notice instantly if in a particular case the minimal help given can be lessened. The conductor calls attention to the success, not just the given child’s but also the whole group’s. All the children are thus gladdened by the new result as this is an invigorating example for them. The learning achieved as a result of teaching proceeds in the direction of decreasing the help necessary and thus coincides with the gradual growth of independence through the conductor’s conduction. That is why she is called a conductor, not through allusion to an orchestra.

(I have to admit to not understanding the reasoning behind the first part of their concluding sentence here, though I do concur with the second!)

Even the best of academic reviewers miss the fundamental point that ‘facilitation’ involves teaching the will and the means of independent action, not doing something for people who should be learning to do it for themselves. Here is an example in which the contrast or the real meaning of the word is immediately apparent:

Conductive facilitation’ that includes careful observation of each child to meet individual needs and differences is another principle of CE. Conductors allow each child to carry out activities unassisted, but with guidance, support and access to equipment to enable movement to occur. (Ludwig et al, 2000, p. 11)
Small wonder that people miss the point, given the obscurity of much of the literature in which the sense of facilitation and other pedagogic principles lie buried – and as consequence, small wonder too that academic research on Conductive Education is so half-cock

As for myself, I have tried to understand and teach about conductive facilitation as something that occurs within the context of and as an exemplar of the process of Vygotskii’s zone of next development – but this gets harder and harder to do as that concept becomes buried deeper and deeper by the year beneath misstatements and misunderstandings here in the English-speaking West.

It can therefore be easier to explain conductive facilitation in terms of its opposite (‘unconductive facilitation’?), doing things for people, which can be related to the easily understood concepts of learned dependency and learned helplessness. When applied these to the learning and development of disabled children and adults, and their families, I prefer to talk about the destructive effects of taught dependence and taught helplessness inherent in so many prevalent beliefs, practices and ‘services’. But that’s another story.

In conclusion

If you want to hear about ‘facilitation’, as in many aspects of conductive pedagogy don’t just look up the specific, explicit word. Armed with an understanding of the concept seek it out in whatever you see and hear, see how it permeates what people do and say. Here is just one little example, in what the incomparable Zsuzsa Szábo said to newspaper reporter Karen Gold to indicate the different about the conductive philosophy of the Dynamite Project at the Priory School in Slough and what the children might otherwise experience:

Probably, I think, a little bit too much has been done for these children. People don’t want to ask too much from them because maybe it’s going to be too hard. But when they see what they are capable of they expect that throughout the day. You have to think ahead of the child and the capability that child has at the moment. (Gold, 200 4)

I doubt that the reporter or the vast bulk of those who read her article (presumably mainly teachers interested in the education of physically disabled children), had a clue what Zsuzsa meant! Conductive facilitation and its close associate conductive observation have meaning only within this gentle but determined philosophical position.

I do not know whether any of the above really answers you question.. You should have more that enough now to construct your own general theoretical statement of conductive education, with some assurance of where your idea comes from. I would like to think that others will write in to adjust or amplify what I have written here, particularly with reference to the non-English record.

There is of course a further level to the question of conductive facilitation, which I have deliberately avoided here, its subdivision into different kinds of facilitation, its internal taxonomy. Maybe I shall come back to this – or maybe others might like to oblige.

Note for scholars and search engines!

Выготский; зона ближающего развития

By ‘Vygotskii’ and ‘zone of next development’ I mean what are often now found in English as ‘Vygotsky’ and ‘zone of proximal development’


Ákos, K., Ákos M. (1991) Conceptual difficulties in understanding Conductive Education. Unpublished paper

Gold, K, (2004) Independent conduct, Times Educational Supplement (TES Teacher), 27 February, pp. 24-25

Hári, M. (1990) The history of Conductive Education and the educational principles of the Pető system. Paper presented to the I. World Congress, Budapest, 29 November – 1 December 1990

Hári, M. (2001) The History of Conductive Education (Occasional Papers Supplement, no 2), Budapest, International Pető Institute

Hári, M., Ákos, K. (1988) Conductive Education, London and NY, Routledge

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

Maguire, G., Sutton, A 2004) Mária Hári on Conductive Pedagogy, Birmingham, Foundation for Conductive Education

Monday, 9 June 2008

Practical advice wanted

Recruiting clients for Conductive Education

I have received a letter from two very dear people whom I have known for some years and whose heart and hard work I respect enormously They are arranging a summer school and have hit a glitch. You can tell from their terminology that they work in the United Kingdom.
Here is some of what I wrote in reply.

Hi and help please,

How are you? We are really good, although we are writing this email with a plea for help. As you know we are planning to run a summer camp this summer and everything is in place to run a fun and successful camp for children, except we have no children!!!

We have contacted all of the major special schools in town and in the surrounding areas, we have printed brochures and have met with the staff of all of the schools. Overall we felt that the response was positive – except we received a voice mail from the principal of the major school in the area, which basically said that she would not be handing out our brochures. We have sent an email requesting further information but our concern is that other schools may be doing the same and just not telling us.

We have also made contacts with social services and are waiting for a reply. We know that the cost was off-putting to many, but we also know that parents will try anything once and, if we can get the clients initially, we can prove what a good service CE is. There are other names we have been given but we know for a fact that they have a bad attitude to CE. We initially felt we should hold off until we could demonstrate the benefits if the program. It's one thing to explain what we do and another for people to see for themselves.

At the moment we are trying to think outside the box, looking up support groups etc., but they are few and far between, I'm afraid, and all appear to be websites. We did think of holding an open evening where people can come and meet us and hear more about CE but we can't seem to get hold of the parents. Professionals are basically blocking us.

Do you have any suggestions? Are we missing a key source of advertising? Any advice you could offer us would be great.

This is the general gist of what I replied:

Join the club! You have hit the perennial problem of many Conductive Education services in the UK (and in a lot of other places too, I guess). It was with me from the time that I started, it still dogs people and there is no simple answer to the problem. It's going to be a long, hard slog but here are some principles to guide you.

1. You are wasting your time going through public bodies. One background reason is that the public bodies and the professionals who work in them, be they health, education or social, are at best completely indifferent to the voluntary sector... and at worse actively hostile. This is nothing to do with Conductive Education, it's widespread and goes back as far as I do professionally (40+ years). They simply don't include them in their consideration and they don't pass on information. But there's an additional factor, particularly when it comes to Conductive Education. It's that they regard CE as the opposition, in competition for scarce and diminishing funds. They are not going to share their customers with you.

2. So ignore them. Do something that they cannot do (and will therefore dislike you for all the more when you do it). Go over their heads, go round them, use other channels to get to the punters.

3. Above all, you will have to learn to use the media. That's the local newspapers (both big regional ones and all those diddie ones in every little town). Make a list, get all the editorial emails and start by sending a press release. Then send another. And another. Make a similar list of emails for every radio and local TV station in the region and pester them with the same press releases. Be prepared to do interviews for press and broadcasting. Not just you, anyone associated with you.

4. You are interesting in yourselves, but the thing that really sells stories to the media, and sells the services to parents, is other parents. Identify some parents ready to say the good word about Conductive Education. Don’t worry about what they'll say, my experience is that they always come up trumps in this situation..

5. You have to realise that PR is an essential survival mechanism for conductive services. No PR, no survival. Don't waste your time 'advertising'. It costs money and who believes 'adverts' anyway? Get the media to report you. They are always looking for local interest stories. Kids + mums = human interest.

6. Nothing attracts attention like a good row. In your circumstances I would tell the local media about the local principal who refused to hand out your brochures and who, I am sure, would love to give an informed opinion on Conductive Education to the local media. ‘School principle denies disabled children holiday scheme’: great front-page local journalism.

You're two lovely people and probably think me a cynical old wreck

After I’d sent this letter, which is no more than the sort of advice that I’ve discussed with people in similar circumstances for years, I suddenly remembered that this in the twenty-first century, and banged off another quick note. Again, here is the gist:

And another thing... something you can get this up and running by tea-time today: get yourselves a blog.

No ifs and maybes. Get started and begin putting out what you are doing straight away. Include your triumphs and the problems (such as the present one over recruitment). At first hardly anyone will see it but you have to have something up there for parents and reporters to be referred to and, if it's interesting, to watch out for.

It costs nothing and even I can do it. Let me recommend Blogger to you:

Sign on and in a in a few minutes you will have a blog site. Think of a catchy title then it’s up to you what and how you write (the email that you sent to me is as good a starting point as any: just build on it from there as things emerge). Be as subjective and 'you' as you like. See
www.konduktorin.blogspot.com for an excellent example of a conductor writing a blog. See http://studentconductor.blogspot.com/ for something much different and more basic – but still her.

You wanted my advice. It's basically simple: GET OUT THERE AND PUT YOURSELF AROUND. And as far as a blog is concerned, you can start this afternoon.

All very easy for me to say. Is it right though? Can you advise these good folk on getting through to families who might benefit from access to Conductive Education?

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Three legs

First thoughts for Chicago Keynote

Following the first programme announcement for the ACENA conference in Chicago, I ought to say a little more about my own proposed contribution.

This will be called 'Conductive Education stands on three legs'. As I see it at the moment, this will will begin with quick critical attention to the unproductive notion of 'the principles of Conductive Education'. It will point instead to three fundamental traditions that blend together in what in the English-speaking world in particular we currently identify as 'Conductive Education'. Each of these, which may be broadly typified as German-Jewish liberal, Soviet psycho-pedagogical and contemporary parent-led consumerist, derives from a particular stage in Conductive Education's history. Understanding Conductive Education in such terms, rather than in terms either of supposed 'principles' or of existing models of therapy, disability or special education, has implications for future directions of practice, research and politics for the field.

An hour should just about do it.


Sutton, A. (2008) First information on North American Conference: Fourth Annual ACENA Conference, Conductive Education World, 5 June

New blog on the block

Conductive Education and the Internet

Conductive Education blogs are growing in number but remain rare enough as yet to make each new one an object of remark.

Newest on line is new conductor Ben Foulger's Geek Conductor (yes, that's right, it's Geek, not Greek) with a patricular expertise and slant on the use of information technology (especially at the moment therefore the Internet) and its potential benefits for conductors and Conductive Education as a whole.

Opening postings are already published and include interesting critical comments on discussion forums as a model for communicating within Conductive Education. A possible alternative is suggested.

Follow Geek Conductor at:

Thursday, 5 June 2008

First Information on North American Conference

Fourth Annual ACENA Conference

The organising Committee writes:

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

28-29 August 2008

Join us in Chicago to share ideas, network and learn about recent advances in conductive education, and other services available for children with cerebral palsy.

Over the course of two days, you will have a chance to hear from some of the leading professionals working within the fields of Conductive Education, cerebral palsy and overall physical disabilities. Thursday and Friday’s morning sessions will be a chance for all attendees to hear from leaders in the field including:

Andrew Sutton, Founder-President of the Foundation for Conductive Education in Birmingham, England – enjoy Andrew’s humor and passion for Conductive Education during his key-note address.

Franz Schaffhauser, the newly appointed Rector of the International Pető Institute will give an update on the recent advances at the Pető Institute.

Michael Mosall is creating the first-ever national cerebral palsy registry within the United States of America and will share his current research & database.

Deborah Gaebler Director of the Cerebral Palsy Program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, will speak about her work on the classification of movement disorders.

Krisztina Harsanyi, a pediatric neurologist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago will share her insight into sleep disorders as they relate to individuals with cerebral palsy.

James Rimmer, an expert in the field of exercise and movement for those with disabilities, will share his latest research findings as well as the resources available on the NCAPD website.

Further information will follow. For further detailsin the meantime, contact:

Xavier: three more views

Trenchant statements of contrary positions

Three more contributions to the debate on this on this tricky issue: to find them, scroll down to the original article on this topic (‘A hard call to make’, 16 May) and go to the Comments at the foot of that page.

Sutton, A, (2008) A hard call to make: is this a problem for Conductive Education?, Conductive Education World, 16 May