Thursday, 10 July 2008

Conductive Education and the law

Let’s hear more of it

Yesterday’s item in Conductive Education World, commenting upon an English law firm’s way of listing Conductive Education, drew a prompt response suggesting that I had indeed been too picky in what I had written. 'AdrianH' commented:

Picky...... well may be, what exactly is your issue with this and what point are you trying to make? One wonders why you picked on this post in particular when there are threads about other companies there, all posted with the same purpose and general message.The solicitor you cite did not make the post, it is a link to the company website (and an extract from that site) posted to provide information for those fighting to get a suitable education for their child/children.The success refered to is their success in representing families and children and winning cases against education authorities that denied those children a special needs placement or an appropriate education setting for their needs.Nowhere do they claim success in education as that is not their role, they are however extremely successful in winning cases and therefore allowing disadvantaged youngsters to gain access to education,which after all is their legal right.

I didn’t pick it, Google Alerts did – because it mentioned Conductive Education.

Lawyers' vital contribution to Conductive Education

I’m glad that the law firm in question is developing experience in such actions and pleased that it considers this something worth advertising. I know that other law firms active within education law are also working with such cases and look forward to reporting what is happening as and when I hear (I can grant no time or priority at the moment to do a retrospective). And I know that without such legal intervention many children would not be accessing Conductive Education... and some services would have had to close. Like everyone else (except, I guess, the lawyers) I wish that things could be achieved otherwise, but that's the world we live in.

From time to time the outcomes of these cases are reported and I hope one day there will have been sufficient such work as to merit description, analysis, conference and publication about Conductive Education and the law in its own right. Maybe I’m not sufficiently in touch and it already has, in which case I would be most grateful to hear and pass the information on.

I know that analogous cases occur elsewhere in the world, not just the Common Law countries, and that all in all there has been a lot of success – and no little failure – in contesting the defensive position of public funding bodies through judicial proceedings. I know too from personal experience that both sides in such cases often bring poor facts and irrelevant arguments to adjudication, and that cases can be lost because of this.

Over the years a variety of judgements and decisions in several jurisdictions have been reported on the Internet – and are still up there for people to find. As far as I know, however, the field of Conductive Education law has not started coming together as a coherent whole. The posting on which I commented perhaps in part reflects this, but that was not the purpose of what I wrote.

Conductive Education as commodity

Conductive Education, outside the immediate bubble of those directly concerned with accessing and developing it, will inevitably be commodified by those for whom it forms an incidental or occasional part of their work. It is something that they deal with and in doing so they contribute to the practical extension and development of the Conductive Education movement in ever-wider social contexts. There can be no objection to that. Parents faced with stonewalling public bodies are very lucky that there is a growing pool of law firms with expertise in this field. I have no doubt that on the other side there is a body of public officials with their own experience of ‘dealing with’ Conductive Education, perhaps even shared means of arguing such cases, to rid themselves of a troublesome commodity that they don’t want to buy!

It would be very helpful to conductivists every where to know better how this commodity is viewed by all sorts of consumers today, parents, public bodies, therapists, school teachers, doctors, the media, whoever. I suspect that we might be in for a few shocks! Without such knowledge, we really are navigating in the dark.

A categegorial question

So, the question, ‘Am I being picky?’ was, as the item’s title implied, a categorial one. From my end of the Conductive Education bubble, it was rather stark to see a pedagogic process, one moreover representing a whole new paradigm for children with developmental disorders, subsumed within a category made up mainly of conditions and quasi-conditions typifying the old! On the other hand, I had to recognise that the lawyer and her law firm in question have to communicate and operate in their own real world, hence my inclusion of ‘commodity’ in the subtitle.

Picky?

I wasn’t being picky for picky’s sake. As for the capitalisation, however, now that's something else…

Note

Previous item:

Sutton, A. (2008) As others categorise us: Conductive Education commodified, Conductive Education World, 9 July
http://andrew-sutton.blogspot.com/2008/07/as-others-see-us.html

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