Friday, 12 December 2008

Are we on the same planet?

Or just the wrong track!

It must by now be abundantly clear that there is a considerable and increasing problem in funding Conductive Education ‘as is’, not just as it is in its ‘traditional’ forms but even perhaps in ad hoc developments adopted to establish footholds in all sorts of ecological niches around the world.

One possible solution: develop it in ways that will not just make it fundable but also advance it once more as an incontrovertably favoured cause in the public imagining.

The conductive movement is not going to achieve this simply by more of the same. That too should be clear by now.

When you’re in a hole, stop digging

If one broadly adopts the analysis proposed in Conductive Education: whatever next? (Sutton, 2008) then the question inevitably arises of what might be done to retrieve the initiative. For Conductive Education to emerge from the recession/down-turn in reasonable shape, within a reasonable time span (so as not to loose unrecorded personal skills for ever), then there is purposeful work to be done.

Any such endeavour would require enormous good will but, with the best will in the world, it would also require a degree of funding.

This would be very different work from the usual activity of existing CE centres, and involve different sources of funding from those that maintain existing conductive services/programs.

Pipe dream? Might such a thing be even conceivable? Could CE do it?

Some can…

I received a circular letter today, from Down Syndrome Education International. Here’s the gist (emphasis in the original):

We are making good progress in improving education for people who have Down syndrome

The Sue Buckley Research Fund is raising vital additional funds for international scientific research to improve education for people who have Down syndrome and to ensure that up-to-date, evidence-based advice and information is widely available to all.

I am delighted to report that during the first year of the appeal, we have secured £950,000 ($1.6 million/€1.2 million) of new funds for practical research and dissemination. We are therefore making good progress towards our goal of securing additional annual funding for research and education of £5.6 million ($9.5 million/€7 million) by 2012.

Our achievements to date include

  • Funding a longitudinal study of early development to explore factors influence individual rates of progress
  • Securing funding for one of the largest controlled trials of an educational intervention for young people who have Down syndrome to date
  • Expanding our UK research team
  • Supporting new research in four Universities

If you would like to read some of the other things that they are involved in, go to:

When you get there try the old trick of substituting the words 'Conductive Education' in appropriate places, and try not to weep.

Can comparison to be made?

Of course the two causes are not exactly parallel and of course the above document was written just a little earlier in the present financial crisis. You can tell this from the telling little parentheses: ‘£950,000 ($1.6 million/€1.2 million)’! That must have been at least a fortnight ago! Maybe the Down’s people are already revising their targets and/or timescales...

That does not detract from the central point stated here, that it would be wonderful to have timescales and targets of this sort at all in Conductive Education.


Sutton, A. (2008) Conductive Education? Whatever next? (Supplement to Conductive World) [online]

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