Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Multiple Sclerosis Society launches second information package

More positive attitude towards Conductive Education?

For the second time this year the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s website has published a video + text information package on Conductive Education, perhaps indicative of the beginnings of significant shift in attitude in the Society over 2008.

This week’s information package

This includes a two-part video introducing issues around the applicability of CE for people with MS, and its availability (in the UK), the tenth in a monthly series called MS Society Awareness Talks

Conductor Mel Brown answers questions and the MS group at the National Institute of Conductive Education in Birmingham, England also features:

It is not clear how long the MS Society will maintain these videos on line but they are also available on YouTube, presumably permanently:

Conductive Education - Part 01

Conductive Education - Part 02

The MS Society’s extensive website is not easy to navigate but transcripts of what is said on the two videos are available there if required:

Conductive education film transcript Part 01

Conductive education film transcript Part 02

Elsewhere on the site, from 15 to 19 December only, the Society’s highly structured MS Discussion Forum provides a chance to ask questions of Mel Brown direct, in message-board form:

Despite the problems of internal navigation, for those who find all this, these materials taken together may be considered to constitute a package.

The Society’s first information package

The Society’s first video + text information package on Conductive Education was published in April of this year, comprising a report of the pilot project run by the Society’s North-West Region. This is published in altogether another part of the Societ's website, specified as being ‘for professionals’, and was reported in Conductive World at the time that it appeared (Sutton, 2008a):

A video features the views of people who took part in this pilot and describe their experience, and conductor Laszlo Szogeczki also contributes.

There is also a text version to download, in booklet form:

The pilot in the North West is reported amongst a wider range of initiatives by the Society, to encourage genuinely local services:

It is government policy to provide patient-centred services that will enable people with long term neurological conditions to maintain their independence and well being and lead as fulfilling lives as possible. The MS Society fully endorses this approach and a key aim for us is to involve people affected by MS to get involved in the planning and development of their local services. Often the result is to bring about real improvements and lasting change… showing how much can be achieved when enthusiastic people come together to work on a local project.

Attitudes moving on?

Taken together these two information packages demonstrate what can be done to inform would-be users of Conductive Education, and others, by a sympathetic critical-mass organisation.

The two packages constitute the most comprehensive published coverage of Conductive Education to date from adult disability charity’s website in the United Kingdom, or indeed by any charity concerned with disabled children either (or they would do if more obviously linked within the Society's website).

Earlier this year, only a month before publication of the pilot from the North West, the MS Society had sponsored a commissioned special supplement in The Times (of London), on research into multiple sclerosis. At the time Conductive World criticised this supplement for its narrowly biological view of intervention and research (Sutton, 2008b)

Now, within the same year, the Multiple Sclerosis Society has produced the materials reported here. It looks that even by the time that this Supplement appeared the ice had already starting breaking. This just hadn't got through to the 'research' people (paradoxically, with respect to Conductive Education at least, rarely the most up-to-date players in the game!).

Other places, other conditions...

Though these packages are directed towards multiple sclerosis, given the relative dearth of services and information in the field of adult Conductive Education generally they may also prove helpful to people in other countries. And given the degree of this dearth they may also, with obvious qualifications, offer useful pointers for those seeking to understand Conductive Education for adults with other condititions, congenital and acquired.


Sutton, A. (2008a) Multiple sclerosis: small steps: local MS Society branch shows the way, Conductive World, 29 April 2008

Sutton, A. (2008b) Multiple sclerosis: Conductive Education not yet on radar, Conductive World, 28 March


  1. The world of Conductive Education never fails to puzzle me.

    How can a system, so pellucid in its fundamental principles (and I don’t meant wooden furniture etc!) generate such an unlikely infrastructure?

    The discussion of the video on MSS’s forum has now closed, with only seven submissions.

    Only seven, for what is should be the most exciting new departure that the field has seen for years.

    Why so few? All I have to go on is the number of responses response to previous videos in this series, that seem in general to have fared rather better. Maybe it’s just me, an ex-psychologist without MS, who finds CE so refreshing. Maybe if I had MS and bladder problems (a previous topic), I would have more pressing concerns.

    But the devil is always in the detail. Of the seven responses made, six came on the first day, and these were all anonymous postings. True, there are anonymous postings made to previous topics, but only a relative few.

    Why this strange, pervasive desire for anonymity in CE? And why did the few people that I asked about this all come up with the same response, along the line that people are worried about retaliation.

    I resist this explanation, surely it just doesn’t wash. People ‘inside’ CE may have had unpleasant experiences from making their identities known, but people writing in from outside of CE can surely have nothing to fear (from whom?) from simply enquiring, surely not the bloke who signed himself ‘Luke from Munich’ and asked on behalf of a friend (how anonymous do you need to you get!).

    Beats me, the whole thing.

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