Friday, 30 January 2009

Dog-eat-dog time already?

So much for ‘partnership’

The English ‘third-sector’, at least an organised claque of big charities, has been making a growing fuss about its expectations for Government subsidy to see it through the recession. The Government, hardly surprisingly, is so far declining to respond.

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest (or should that read ‘jungle’?) one branch of the state seems already to think that now is the time to rein back on public money for charities.

A report of research by the ‘Association for Public Sector Excellence’ proposes that some public services now outsourced to charities and private organisations would be improved if brought back in-house and provided under local-authority control.


People in Conductive Education already well know that fickle jade ‘research’.

The Association’s report is based upon case studies of more that fifty local authorities. It says that the benefits to councils of bringing services back under their control would include improved cost-efficiency, better-performing and higher-quality services, and enhanced community wellbeing. ‘Better value for money’ also figures.

The report says that there is a ‘strategic and operational case for bringing services back in-house from the private and third sectors.’ Paul O'Brien, chief executive of the APSE, is reported as saying:

Our research findings are very clear: it is about the public sector taking a pragmatic approach to all options available for service delivery. What matters to local citizens is value for money and good services. If this is best provided by insourcing a service, then it is something that should be implemented.

The report's title, however, is already ahead of this, suggesting that the case is already decided: Insourcing: a guide to bringing local authority services back in-house.

The spell-check on my spanking new computer (irritatingly business-oriented in the language that it would pefer me to use) does not recognise the word ‘insourcing’. No doubt the next update will be able to make good that omission..

The Association for Public Sector Excellence

The Association describes itself as a ‘not for profit local government body working with over 300 councils throughout the UK’. It does not itself appear to be a charity (at least under this name). Rather it is a common-interest group providing services to members like training and, as here, lobbying/campaigning for their common interests.

The Association’s research activity seems embedded in the latter role, as it ‘campaigns on behalf of its membership to highlight issues of concern within local government and has an effective research and lobbying role when key consultations are launched.

The study in question here has yet to appear on the Association’s website. Doubtless it soon will. Enthusiasts should keep an eye out for it.

And Conductive Education?

The Association defines itself as…

…the foremost specialist in local authority front line services, hosting a network for front line service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.

Such activities may seem at first sight a long way removed from the human services for which Conductive Education might seek ‘public-voluntary partnerships’. Councils is councils, however, and if and when they successfully pull back from contracting to the charitable sector fpr some of their functions, there will be interested eyes looking to how local-authority autarchy can be re-established in others, especially at a time of diminishing financial resources. What price ’partnership’ when there is competition for cash, and jobs and careers depend on the outcome.

Perhaps this is unfair. Unfortunately the Association has chosen to style itself by one of those now much devalued-by-PR words. The weasel-word ‘excellence’ instantly cries out for the listener to seek hidden agendas and motives, and to wonder whether anyone anywhere is still bamboozled by this claim in any context. Think of the other ‘excellences’ that you know…

Reference and note

Townsend, S. (2009) Services 'may do better under public sector control' Third Sector Online, 30 January

Association for Public Sector Excellence

Thursday, 29 January 2009

The duality of fear

Practical human reality of a critical concept

The longest-standing CE-blogger, Leticia Kuerton, took a break over Christmas and the New Year and, my, was she missed. New she’s back, with a vengeance.

In simple starightforward terms her latest posting describes her twins’ very differing levels of physical confidence and how this interrelates systemically with their learning, epitomising a central dilemma at the heart of conductive practice. This is how she concludes her piece (in Portuguese):

No entanto vivo com a dualidade, com dois exemplos extremos, aquele que sem o medo arrisca e aprende; e outro que devido ao medo não experimenta.

which being translated into English says

I, however, live with the duality, with two extreme examples, one who fearlessly risks and learns; and another who out of fear does not try.

Something so easy to know in theory. She and her twins and her family live the reality.


Kuerton, L. (2009) A dualidade do medo, Educação Condutiva com amor, 29 January

"It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future" (various attributions)

What now? Who knows?

Have you read the newspapers or heard the news over the last couple of days? If you have managed to avoid this then the Reuters report cited below offers some of its grim flavour.

We are now in the deepest economic recession since the Second World War, the United Kingdom where I live is going be the the worst place in the devoted world to live through this and, if I live so long, then I can look forward to twenty years of austerity to pay for the greed and stupidity of those who made so merry over my last twenty austere years.

It might of course not be anything like as bad as all that. On the other hand runaway deflation might drag weak populist governments into printing money and then we’ll all end up living in Zimbabwean-style penury.

What do I know? What in fact do any of the worthies of the International Monetary Fund, the International Labour Organisation, the Institute for Fiscal Studies etc. etc, really know, and why should I trust anything that they choose to tell me anyway? And that goes for the World Economic Forum currently meeting at Davos, too. If they were only half as clever and sincere as they try to sound then we would never be in this situation in the first place.

Not predictions, implications

These following are not ‘predictions’, just obvious implications. To ‘predict’ would to specify precisely how, in what order and over what time-scale such implications might be worked out in reality.

Services for the disabled

Services and other sources of help for disabled children and adults, and their families, are in for a hard time. There’s no need to invoke that old slogan, ‘the most vulnerable members of society’: even if the disabled do no worse than anyone else during the ‘austere years’, things are going to stretch too thin to maintain existing ways of providing.

That goes for all three potential sources of their funding:
  • the state: first hints are already being made about freezing budgets at present levels, from which it is but a tiny stem to beginning to reduce them;
  • non-profits/charities: in the United Kingdom the charitable sector is already begging Government for a financial bail-out, hardly realistic from what is just a troublesome cash-cow there to patch up some of the problems that the states prefers to let go by;
  • their own families' personal resources: this is the rock-bottom, the last resort, the long-stop where the ball always ends up, where financial resources may be shortest of all but at least there is love.
The is little purpose against this background to speak of the possible effects of all this upon Conductive Education, its future availability and the jobs that it currently provides. As surely as at the micro-level, so in the microcosm of Conductive Education: to ‘predict’ would to specify precisely how, in what order and over what time-scale these implications will be worked out in reality. That will be achieved differently in different places, with differing outcomes depending how hard people fight, how well-suited their strategies and tactics, and how lucky they are. That will go for CE as it goes for everyone.


Sure as eggs is eggs, economic events bring political events, and economic changes bring political changes. You can insert the word ‘significant’ in that sentence four times, should you wish.

Today the French went out on strike, as they do. There was unpleasantness in the Baltic and in Greece, so nothing new there. And there was a riot in Iceland: now that’s news!

Early days yet.

Notes and references

The title (variously attributed)
Who originated this cheery pearl of wisdom. Niels Bohrs, Albert Einstein, Yogi Berra, somebody ancient and Chinese, or any of umpteen others? Take your pick:

Today’s big economic news
Wroughton, L. (2009) IMF sees world economy at near standstill in 2009, Reuters, 28 January

Footnote: it has been a lot worse!
Bridge, M. (2008) Britain’s 10 worst recessions ever, Times Online: Money Central, 22 July
And that’s mainly British/European experience. Lots of other places where Conductive World is read have their own stories to tell! At least is shows that even long tunnels have light at the end of them.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009


Canny marketing publicises Conductive Education

Conductive Education has turned up on the website 'Top Mexico Vacation'. How should this be?, as its name suggests, is a holidays-in-Mexico website.

One way in which this site attracts hits is by including altogether unrelated thematic pages giving links to YouTube and other sites. Probably once these thematic pages have been generated they update themselves entirely automatically, identifying their own content through preset web searches and needing no human maintenance. They are therefore in effect ‘free’ (there’s that word again!), not just at the point of delivery but to all intents and purposes for the advertiser as well. Clever.

One of the page themes is Pedagogia (i.e. ‘pedagogy’ in both Spanish and Portuguese, and if you put an accent over the ‘o’, in Hungarian too):
Some people's computers may bring up a largely blank page with the message 'There is no video available for keyword'. If this happens to you, take no notice: just enter the keyword pedagogia in the Search box at the top, right-hand corner of the page. Click, and all will be revealed!

Who benefits?

By doing this, Top Mexico Vacation will be attracting the attention of people searching the net for “pedagogia”, and that of any automated systems like Google Alerts doing the same. This presumably brings the company’s website a lot of visitors who might not have been thinking of a holiday in Mexico at all. Presumably the company benefits, otherwise it would not be doing it.

To do so, of course, it must ensure that its accidental visitors must not ‘bounce’ straight out again but linger a while on the page, checking out some of the things that are currently linked to there. It is then up to the Mexican tourist people to catch their attention  with some very attractive-looking holiday videos. Meanwhile the accidental visitor, in this case someone interested in pedagogia, may also have chanced upon some interesting material on pedagogy, previously unknown. So the punter benefits too.

And there’s another beneficiary group, the people whose sites are currently linked to, as they may catch hits from people who did not know about them specifically before they started.

Everybody benefits, and it costs nobody a penny.


So what do you get if you find yourself landing on the pedagogia page? A pretty Catholic collection, presently in Spanish, Portuguese and English.

There are videos of entertainers and videos on teaching, two slide presentations on Paolo Freire and jolly photo albums of student year-groups. And Part 1 of a television interview with Peter McClaren, interpreted into English.

In addition to the YouTube videos, the site’s sidebar provides what looks like a Google-generated ‘Pedagogia News’, currently providing two links into the CE blogosphere where the word has again been recently exercised (albeit in Hungarian rather than in Spanish or Portuguese).

Peter McLaren

That Top Mexico Vacation chose pedagogia as one of its themes to entice punters to its site testifies (again) to the persisting vigour of the word ’pedagogy’ outside the English language. At the same time the current content of the page, with two links to Paolo Freire and one to Peter McLaren, reflects a particular Latin American emphasis within the wider concept.

Attention has already been drawn in Conductive World to Paolo Freire’s pedagogy of the oppressed. The interview with Peter McLaren is called Pedagogia Crítica y Revolución Bolivariana, and his critical pedagogy might also strike a chord.

The video linked to here covers only the beginning of the interview. You can find the rest of that interview, and other stuff of his too, at:

Not a blog: a free, flexible website

Innovative personal conductive practice in Budapest

Sixten’s Foundation in the United States has been using Blogger technology to provide a free, flexible website to promote its activities and achievements. Most CE websites round the world, however, remain static, frozen in time, as small organisations have neither the cash nor the on-site expertise to keep them up to date. This is never good marketing: in these present times it must be a downright hindrance.

One of the small, conductor-led consultancies now springing up around the world is Adam Makk’s, in Budapest. He too uses Blogger for his website and in doing so displays innovations in conductive service-provision on a number of dimensions.

Client group: at-risk infants

Tudjuk, hogy egy veszélyeztetett, de tünetmentesen fejlődő csecsemő nem szorul feltétlenül rehabilitációra, de olyan gyerekeknél, akiknek megkésett mozgásfejlődése egyre jobban kibontakozik, rendkívül értékes időszak vész el, ha a fejlesztést nem kezdik meg elég korán. Ők, akár veszélyeztetettnek számítanak a szülés alapján akár nem, de korai diszfunkcióra utaló jeleket mutatnak.

This means:

We know that an at-risk infant growing up without symptoms may not inevitably require rehabilitation, but in such children, even though delayed motor development may increasingly improve, an exceptionally valuable period is lost if development is not started early… [The final sentence altogether defeats me. Help please!]

No doubt other conductors have practised with this population. Certainly others have. In particular, only a mile or so from the Pető Institute in Budapest for a very long time now Ferenc Katona has been a shining example to the world in providing early intervention for at-risk infants

Service model: customer-oriented

This is an individual consultancy/counselling service:

Please choose the place and time that suit you, check with the given location and confirm by email [I am not 100% clear about the process involved here: again, translation help please!]

Look at the site. The little table refers to upcoming appointments/vacancies for 30-minute check-up and development appointments. By way of further explanation the three tabs, Hét, Hónap and Napló. In English these mean respectively ‘Week’, ‘Month’ and ‘Diary’.

If you click on Napló, Diary, the top line for each day’s entry indicates where those sessions are been held, in institutions or other addresses around Budapest.

A small red pop-up box marked Bétöltes means that the day is all booked up!

No doubt conductive sessions have been provided in this way before, but surely not as transparently!

In straightened times especially (but this really ought always to be so) conductors should be finding new ways of spreading the benefits of their conductive training. Adam Makk’s practice seems to represent several innovative steps already mentioned in Conductive World, encapsulated within a single service:

  • small
  • private
  • no capital plant
  • ‘new’ (large and often neglected) client group
  • consumer-oriented service-delivery
  • transparent operation
  • locally provided
  • short lead-times
  • electronically marketed (for free!)
  • de-emphasising the ‘conductive’ (see below)

For service-users this must be almost like going shopping!

Adam has brought these together. How conductive.

Just a small terminological point?

Adam’s consultancy service is called Mozgásfejlődés Tanácsadás Budapesten. Loosely this may be translated into English as ’Motor-developmental consultancy in Budapest’, loosely because ’development’ does not seem the exact equivalent of the word fejlődés in this context. Just possibly Förderung might be nearer the mark, if only there were such a word in English!

The emphasis of his site is upon who is helped, where and when. There is none of the usual ‘What is Conductive Education’, the effect of which is often less to attract than to make the work sound quaint.

For some years it has been a frequent topic for discussion, certainly in the United Kingdom, whether it would be advantageous to ‘drop the Conductive Education’. and instead lead on 'rehabilitation’, ‘school’ or some other such familiar term.

This may be more than simply a terminological point. Perhaps redefinition might also be an important feature in reconstructing how we and others conceive of what we do in the twenty-first century

Further information


For a small but important qualification to what is written here, please go to:

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

All quiet on the conductive front

Phoney war… or a fuss about nothing?

The world of Conductive Education seems to have suddenly gone extraordinarily quiet. No news, one has to hope is good news.

There are three possible explanations:

(a) there is genuinely nothing happening, good or bad, and people are just getting on with things as normal;

(b) there are things happening but news of them has yet to get around;

(and, perhaps slightly different)

(c) there are things bubbling away but no one will speak of them and what they might portend.

Ask around and everything is ‘fine’, ‘no problem’. Maybe it is true that CE will bear a charmed life through the recession. If you know the secret of how it is doing this, bottle it: it should be worth a fortune.

So, is the present quiet patch sure indication that CE has nothing to worry about? Or is this the calm before the storm. We shall all soon know, for certain. Hindsight, as Billie Wilder said, is always twenty-twenty.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

(Happy New Year in Cantonese)

Today marks the start of the Chinese Spring Festival, and commencement of the Year of the Ox.

It is also the year in which the SAHK (the Spastics Association of Hong Kong) will be setting in motion arrangements for the VII. Conductive Education World Congress, to be held in December 2010. The Congress will be formally launched any time now.

Will this congress be important?

It will be, if the people who go ensure that it is. This ‘Year of the Ox’ will the year in which those who hope to attend the Congress sort out how they are going to be able to do so. And these those who who hope to contribute, through presentations, workshops, posters and in other ways, will have to turn their minds to the additional question of what they may have to offer, and start considering how they might best make their contributions.

December 2010 may seem a long time away, especially when seen through the glass of the terrible uncertainties of 2009. Perhaps these very uncertainties, however, make it even more important that this Congress, more than any of the six that went before, should deal with grave and fundamental issues about what Conductive Education is, what it can do and how its benefits will not just survive but flourish in the world of the future, however this may be achieved.

There is no other substantial conductive convocation in prospect in the foreseeable future. If collective effort, face-to-face disputation, discourse and debate, have any role to play in deciding the future of Conductive Education then this Congress s the only game in town. Use this opportunity, or lose it.

Put it a different way. For a number of reasons few people in Conductive Education (and this doesn’t just mean conductors, by a long chalk) do not ‘read’ around the topic. Fewer still ‘write’. The miracle of electronic communication is therefore largely wasted on the world of Conductive Education. For better or for worse, the ‘old’ means of personal face-to-face contact may still be disproportionately important in maintaining the coherence of the conductive movement.

The year of the Ox

For a few days in Hong Kong, in December 2010, Conductive Education will ‘exist’ and define itself as a possible world movement. That at least may be how the world may perceive it, so it is important what the rest of the world sees and hears.

This is not solely up to the congress-organisers. Everyone in the conductive movement has a potential contribution to make. Of course, if you submit a contribution, you cannot know whether it will be accepted, and even if it is you cannot predict whether it will make the slightest impact on anyone or anything. What you can say, however, with absolute certainty, is that if you don’t submit something then you will stand no chance whatsoever of sharing your experiences, your analyses, your opinions. You can instead look forward to the satisfaction of saying, as many have said before about all sorts of things, ‘I’m not going there, it will be just the same old boring stuff, it’s of no interest to me’.

It is time for everyone in Conductive Education with a serious concern for its future, to start making plans for how on Earth to get there in 22 months’ time, to listen, to meet, perhaps to speak, certainly to argue and above all to think! It might be the last chance to do so this way.

Not an easy prospect in these recessionary times.

In the Chinese zodiac the sign of the Ox, hardly surprisingly, symbolizes prosperity through fortitude and hard work. Maybe that tells us something.


Sutton, A. (2008) Next World Congress: first announcement. Practical waymark for us all. Conductive World, 9 December

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Calling British Columbia

Move to create British Columbia Conductive Education Association

A core group of families is looking for fellow enthusiasts, other families, professionals, whoever, willing to join together in creating a formal association to advance the cause.

Contact: James Forliti at 604-526-2522


Forliti, J. (2008) Dad's discovery changes his son's world: different approach to education could help many parents, The Province, 10 August

The other side of recession

Businesses fail and prices fall

We knew that the recession had arrived when house values fell, banks failed, businesses closed, unemployment rose, etc. And as nations become very rapidly poorer, many prices are falling too, also very rapidly.

In the United Kingdom, to walk along the iconic ‘high street’ is to see failed businesses, vacant shops, building lots where work has been suspended, and store windows plastered over with SALE, SALE, SALE signs.

Go in the shops and supermarkets. Things are 20% OFF, HALF-PRICE, UP TO 70 PERCENT OFF. You see CREDIT CRUNCH SALE, AMAZING REDUCTIONS, TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE etc. etc.…. The cheap shops, frequented once mainly by the poor, have new clientele, the basic own-brand 'economy' lines of middle-range stores are proudly displayed and expanding. 99p and £1.00 outlets are booming.

And amazingly, amongst this bonfire of economic pricing, some goods seem to be holding their value. One thing isn’t, though, the poor old pound sterling. Prices are increasingly marked simply as £1, £2 etc., and even in the markets pricing in pennies has virtually vanished apart from a fat, round 50p. The pond coin has become small change.

Some business plan!

One can see what cashflow-hungry traders are doing, getting customers and money into their stores at all costs, just to keep the show on the road. It’s a business plan of sorts, though one with an uncertain long-term outcome.

Customers, some already strapped for cash enter an extraordinary world. How can the shops afford to sell things so cheaply? And if they can, how did they dare charge what they used to? Most of all perhaps, there is increasing bemusement at what nowadays is the real value of goods and services, and what is the real value of money.

The apparently thriving £1.00 stores are working on a business model. They may be going somewhere. Conventional business existing day by day on slashed prices are probably going somewhere too, somewhere rather different…

And what about the effects of falling prices for us all?. Falling prices are fine, aren't they, especially alonside falling wages? Er, no, not unreservedly.

The threat of deflation that comes with them, threatens possibilities altogether too awful to contemplate.

New business models for Conductive Education?

The ‘CE high street’, in January 2009, displays no outward signs of the recession to its customers. Plans for expansion are still being announced. There are no SALE signs, no AMAZING REDUCTIONS. No outlets have announced, closure, no major brands have vanished, there are no vacant lots, and as a result, no joblessness and unemployment.

Maybe, as has been suggested already on Conductive World, Conductive Education will turn out to be one of those commodities occupying a strange and peculiar economic niche, that will sail through the recession virtually unscathed.

If it does not, then as has also been suggested on Conductive World, it will require new business models to see it successfully through the recession and into the as yet unknowable future. Maybe Netto, Aldi, TK-Max, Iceland Frozen Foods, and the 99p and £1 shops might offer one business model, a deflationary one, for those who can work out how to implement this.
Most certainly there will be others.

And there’s still the tantalising notion of ‘free’.

New book in English, from Germany

Immediate notification

Künzel, S. (2009) The development and the current situation of the Conductive Education system in Israel, Siegen, Universität Siegen/Institut ScoRe

Published this month by the University of Siegen and the Institut ScoRe (Siegener Complexe Förderung und Rehabilitation) is a 98-page book based upon a diploma dissertation by Sabine Künzel and edited by her supervisor Fr. Dr. Prof. Karin Weber.

There is so little on the provision conductive services actually published in the English language that any new book is an event to be seized on, especially when its primary focus is examination of the development of Tsad Kadima in Israel, with its unique achievement in establishing family-based conductive upbringing.

No details of pricing of ordering are available and there is no trace yet of the book on the Internet.

Those wanting a copy should contact the editor direct, at the Institut ScorRe:

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

FREE Conductive Education furniture

There for the collection
Jerry/Jerzy Maslanka writes:

Our family is moving. In our garage we have a full (6) set of Conductive Education furniture…

We are giving out the CE furniture for free. They are in excellent shape and I don’t want to see them land in garbage container.

Jerry is in Calgary. Contact him at

‘Free’ is my favourite word at the moment… I shall return to it.

Male conductors

Why so few?

What with President Obama’s inauguration, and the Royal Bank of Scotland fiasco, there’s little room for much else on today’s news. One item that did poke thought. however, has been a report of a survey suggesting that British parents would like more men to work in children's nurseries.

Elliott Clifton writes:

These stories got me thinking about the lack of male conductors. There was one in my Pető group, András Bács, but I've only ever know about three. Any thoughts on this?

Does anyone out there have any facts or thoughts in response to Elliott’s enquiry (or is this another matter in Conductive Education that will remain by default an unproblematical, implicit given)?


Children's Workforce Developmental Council (2009) Parents demand more male child care workers (press release), 20 January

What’s happening in Northern Cyprus?

Can anyone tell us more?

Today's edition of Kibris Gazetesi (‘Cyprus Gazette’) carried an intriguing article. It begins:

AB, Girne Özel Eğitim Merkezi'nin, özel eğitiText Colourme gereksinim duyan çocuklarin eğitimlerine yönelik İletimsel Eğitim Programı (Conductive Education Programme) projesine onay verdi.

Macaristan'da 1946 yılında uygulanmaya başladıktan sonra tüm dünyada giderek yayılan ve özel eğitime gereksinim duyan çocuklarin eğitilmeleriyle kendi kendine yetebilen bireyler olarak yetiştirilmesini sağlayan "İletimsel Eğitim Programı", Kuzey Kıbrıs'taki özel eğitim merkezlerinde uygulanacak.

What does this mean? Like others before me I have failed to identify a free Turkish-English translation machine that can tackle a job like this.

As far as I can tell there are to be special training centres introduced across Northern Cyprus, to provide an İletimsel Eğitim Programı, something that the newspaper itself translates as a ‘Conductive Education Programme’.

But who will be doing what, and how?

If anyone out there can translate a little more of this article, or tell more, Conductive World will be pleased to pass this information on.

New words

A caution for Hungarian-speakers who look at this article: don’t get excited over the frequent appearance of the word eğitim. In Turkish this appears to mean nothing more specific than ‘education’, so don’t jump to conclusions! (Explanation of this remark for everyone else: the Hungarian word egyetem means ‘university’).

So far, though, at least one sees a translation of Conductive Education into yet another language. A quick google finds already over a hundred hits for “iletimsel eğitim”


--- (2009) AB, Girne Özel Eğitim Merkezi'nin, özel eğitime gereksinim duyan çocuklarin eğitimlerine yönelik İletimsel Eğitim Programı (Conductive Education Programme) projesine onay verdi. Kibris Gazetesi, 20 January

Monday, 19 January 2009

We can do it

Barack Obama offers a CE slogan for our times

We, a cardinal defining concept of Conductive Education, marking it off from most other approaches, especially the ’therapies’….

do, sharp reminder of Conductive Education’s vital activity-orientation.

Perhaps the word 'will' would better reflect an essential dimension of CE than does 'can', but changing this loses today's instant recognition that is worth so much in public-relations terms.

So just do it!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Factually inaccurate advert

Just let it go?

Yesterday morning I was rather shocked at a new posting on László Szögeczki’s blog. He had just come across an advertisement in the January-February issue of the Able magazine.

"Do you want to visit PETO Institute?

"The famous Peto Institute in Hungary, which has provided conductive education for children with Cerebral palsy, and other muscular weaknesses for more than 60 years, is looking to welcome its first adult guests from the UK this summer.

“Hundreds of British children have already enjoyed the services of the institute, located near Budapest, but this will be the first time adults will be able to benefit from the care and support on offer from its highly skilled and experienced staff".

The contact details provided are an email address,, and a mobile telephone number, 07968 598 281.


Why was I shocked?

Not at ‘near Budapest’, odd though this is.

The ‘muscular weakness’ is wrong, not merely technically but in human terms too as this could be grossly misleading for some needy and unwitting people who read this ad.

And I wonder too what people might find when they explore the notion of ‘guests’.

What I found 'shocking' was the simple misrepresentation of saying that this will be ‘the first time adults will be able to benefit from [the Peto Institute’s] care and support…’

People may of course chose to spend their money as they wish. A summer break in Budapest, coupled with a bit of ‘conductive tourism’ sounds a nice option for those who can afford it. Even in economically successful times, however, disabled people and their families are not as a whole flush with surplus cash. Yes, people went originally to Budapest for Conductive Education, in ‘the early days’, but that exodus has long all but finished, for children and for adults. People who want Conductive Education had no alternative, no choice but to do so. And in doing so they changed the conductive world so that the choice is no longer between Budapest and nothing.

CE for British adults, a long story now

The first formal British investigative team visited the then State Institute in Budapest in the spring of 1984. It included Ronni Nanton, representing the Parkinson‘s Disease Society of Great Britain (which two years later pledged the Foundation for Conductive Education a substantial grant to set CE for adults on the road in the United Kingdom.

If memory serves me aright the first British adult was testing out the State Institute there by the end of that year. This was Les Essex who still regularly attends the Foundation’s National Institute in Birmingham and whose experiences and reports made an important contribution to bringing the PD Society officially on board. He was soon followed by adults with other conditions. One such early visitor was Susie Cornell who went on to create her well-known therapy centre stemming from her experiences there.

In the late eighties and early nineties came a flurry of reports of CE for adults, (some published some not but circulated privately). Establishment of home-based services soon followed , then the inevitable attempts at empirical evaluation. At the National Institute, working with adults became an integral part of conductor-training from its inauguration in 1997.

All this activity of course generated a growing published literature, from news reports to formal academic publications. It has involved application, sometimes successful, for funding services from the public sector, lectures, talks and public presentations. It has hardly been a secret and much of what has been done has been very open and transparent.

It has depended ultimately upon the activities and determination of users and would-be users of conductive services, both as participants and carers, starting with the trek to Budapest and developing quickly on to their preferred option of accessing services nearer home, a process that began over twenty years ago and is now, at least in England, bearing fruit.

Adult CE services around the world

There are now significant centres of CE for adults (often now termed ‘conductive rehabilitation’) in Auckland and Toronto. The major centre for this work outside Hungary remains, however, the Foundation’s National Institute in Birmingham, and the United Kingdom (specifically England) has the most settings where CE services for adults may be accessed.

Both in the UK and elsewhere much of the adult CE available is provided by individual conductors, either in private practice or doing such work for part of their time as an adjunct to work with children. Birmingham, Auckland and Toronto excepted, much of the adult work around the world is provided on this basis.

In a further blog today László has listed some of these. There are more, of which I immediately think of PACE, in Aylesbury, Conductive Education Support Services in Hampshire, Path for the Disabled in Exeter, QCET in Yorkshire… there may be more and I apologise to anyone missed out.

How could people not know?

First, it has to be said that one should not blame Able magazine alone for its not knowing more about the background of the slow but so far fairly steady march of CE services for adults around he world. A quick google for “conductive education“ AND “adults” will trawl almost twelve-thousand hits, one index of how things have changed over the last twenty years. A specialist magazine surely carries a responsibility for the claims of its advertisers in the light of reasonable knowledge of its field.

Perhaps the conductive movement should share some responsibility here. When teaching a society better ways of thinking and acting, just as when teaching individuals, good pedagogues should direct the finger of blame for failure to learn away from the learners, and questioningly back upon themselves. If now in 2009 a specialist magazine for disabled people does not ‘know’ about Conductive Education, what is being done about this by those who do know?

What therefore should be done?

By advertisers. There is a code of conduct. Over and above this, there is an especial moral obligation for advertisements targeting groups that may include vulnerable people. At the very least, they should get their facts right.

By publishers who carry advertisements. Magazine publishers also have a code of conduct. This one, promoting the apparent advance of a first-time-ever experience, drawing disabled people unknowingly back to an earlier stage in the availability of conductive services?

By people in the conductive movement. They might like to enquire or discuss this matter further, directly with the advertiser, by emailing or telephoning the mobile telephone number that is the only other contact detail in the advertisement: 07968 598 281.

Maybe in fact one thing that the conductive movement might do generally is take a rather more actively consumerist stand.


Advertising Standards Authority

Cornell, S (no date) Multiple sclerosis - support and help

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Rough deal for children and families in Kent

Troubles don’t come singly

Smiley Steps is a project of Cerebral Palsy Care, a Medway-based charity, offering conductive services to young children and their families, and since 2005 to adults with Parkinson‘s too. There is an extensive website at:

Catastrophe strikes

Smiley Steps' Conductive Education program is likely to be reduced as there is an overdraft that needs to be reduced. One of the staff is pregnant and the opportunity is being taken not to replace her while she is off on maternity leave.

Read about this and more on the parental blog Jamie. Thus: ‘Conductors receive 3-4 years training but the trustees want volunteers to step in.’

Double whammy

Now the local Child Development Centre that Jamie attends has been uprooted to make way for bigger plans at the local hospital.

What can one say?


-- (2009) Do disabled children come last this year? Jamie, 16 January

-- (2009) Child development centre at Medway Maritime Hospital closed, This is Kent, 15 January

Cox, L. (2009) Children's centre moved to help hospital meet patient demand, Medway Messenger, 16 January

Friday, 16 January 2009

'Pető Professzor’ / 'Professor Pető'

No simple answer but still answers

A couple of months ago on Conductive World (Sutton, 2008) I responded to an enquiry from Judit Szathmáry who wrote asking for clarification about András Pető’s entitlement to be referred to as ‘Professor Pető’.

I made a very English reply

My reply includied the following passage:

Certainly, many people in Hungary still speak and write about ‘Pető Professzor’, without apparently thinking about what the term implies. This was the case in the past and it has persisted to the present day. Where do they imagine him to have held his chair? In what subject?

Others, who know something of András Pető and, just as important, the proud standards of Hungarian academe, are likely to shake their heads and smile wryly if asked the same question that you have asked me. I know, I’ve tried it – and so should you if you don’t believe me.

András Pető may have been many things but one that he certainly was not was an academic. I base this partly on what (admittedly little) I know of his written work. This was in no way akademische or tudományos. He was a ‘doctor’ but in the medical sense, a physician. I don’t know what this means in Hungary but in the United Kingdom this is an honorary title, not in itself indicating academic training. That is why ‘research doctors’ go on to take a PhD. András Pető had no such further training.

A very English reply, as I was aware at the time of writing it! I hoped that this would provoke in response something a bit more Hungarian. I was not disappointed and I was soon enjoying a couple of characteristically challenging emails from Emma McDowell in Belfast, longstanding conductive parent, CE-advocate, Hungarian and, for many years my irreplaceable mentor on Hungarian culture and history.

A very Hungarian response

Unfortunately, Emma was stymied in responding publicly to my challenge, unable to break through into placing a Comment on Conductive World. So here now anyway are some of the things that she was bursting to say

Is Pető rightfully called ‘Pető Professzor’?

YES, in Hungarian usage anyway.

When András Pető was officially appointed főiskolai tanár at the főiskola (college) that he had created, the head of a főiskola (or of a department thereof) carried the academic rank of főiskolai tanár and, as the top of the academic ranking was addressed as Professzor. The next rank down would have been docens, the one below that adjunktus, and the lowest, still academic rank would have been tanársegéd, roughly translatable respectfully as senior lecturer, lecturer and assistant lecturer.

As you can see, the word tanár (lecturer) carries in Hungarian the secondary meaning of head of department. In medical school clinics that are teaching departments the head of the clinic is addressed by his title either as Professzor Úr or qually frequently Tanár Úr (like in German Herr Professor).

A family experience of that time

My own applied pedagogic principle is also Fortiter in re, suaviter in modo. I learned it from my father.

My father had taught at the Pedagógiai Főiskola (translatable as teacher training college) in Szeged, training secondary-school teachers in specialized subjects. He was head of a large and very academic department, teaching geography. His academic rank was főiskolai tanár, and his staff held all the above-mentioned ranks. Even in those most Communist times my father was addressed as ‘Professor’ (Professzor Úr or Tanár Úr). On the basis of his own research work he also carried the title egyetemi magántanár, meaning that he was entitled to teach at a University, which he did by travelling once a week to lecture on the University of Debrecen.

An akadémikus in Hungary is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the highest academic rank achievable. My own father had already sent off his research material, publications etc. to the Academy of Sciences by the autumn of 1956 but afterwards – in July 1957 – he was ‘dismissed’ from his post for his so-called ‘participation in the Revolution’. One of the many humiliations that he suffered was receiving a large parcel from the Academy, all his papers sent back…


Intézet, as you surmise, has a loaded meaning in Hungarian, as has the English word ‘institute’. The Konduktiv Nevelő és Nevelőképző Intézet was so named, correctly if rather awkwardly, no doubt by Pető himself, Állami (State) was of course the word that preceded everything in those days.)

The later, shortened version – Pető Intézet, introduced by the English pioneers – was fitting as well. The word Intézet does cover the meaning of the English ‘institution’ in the old sense but nowadays implies more ’research institute’ or a specifically ‘medical institute‘. It also means ‘school’ in the earlier fashion: boarding school. The two criteria: boarding school + research seem to have met in Pető’s Intézet, which, along with the ‘teaching thereof’, resulted in the college diploma.


Ah, research! The Konduktív Nevelő...etc. had the purpose of the whole thing in its very name (awkward or not). What Pető did was cutting-edge, innovative and applied research. Written, published and academically proofed is NOT the only research method…

Quite simple, isn’t it? Didn't you say that the Hungarian language ‘doesn’t take prisoners’ Neither does the social structure!

And between the two positions?

There is always a compromise to be made! In András Pető’s place and in his time it was appropriate for him to be referred to respectfully and addressed with the honorific ‘Pető Professzor’. There were social rules and conventions and people knew them so nobody was being misled. In different lands now and in different languages, it is easy for people in all innocence to be deceived by the term ‘Professor Pető’ into believing that he was something that he was not. His achievement was of a different kind, and none the less creditable for that. It should be acknowledged clearly for what it was.


Sutton, A. (2008) Dialogue with Judit – II. Was András Pető a professor? Conductive World, 16 November

Barack Obama and Conductive Education

Early days

Yesterday Conductive World made mention of Ronald Reagan, so it seems only right to mark the present lane-change in the United States in some way, with a topical story.

In memory of Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama has asked Americans to ‘create the change they wish to see’ by volunteering their time this coming Monday in service to their communities. The Huffington Post has asked its readers to write in to sharewith what they are going to do. One good soul has written: ‘I will spend the day writing a grant seeking funds to support conductive education for children with cerebral palsy’.

This is all that we can come up with and, yes, the connection is fairly tenuous. Still, it’s early days, mighty oaks and acorns etc. He couldn't be starting his Presidency with association with a finer cause. Let's hope that his advisers spot it!


Palevsky, M. (2008) Obama Service Program: blog your inauguration volunteer plans, The Huffington Post, 15 January

Thursday, 15 January 2009

UK charities may apply to £20bn fund

But they should heed the words of Ronald Reagan

No doubt CE charities in the UK will be turning their eyes in the direction of this fund to help see them through the hard times.

In doing so they should bear in mind that there are no free lunches and the Government will be very clear about the nature of the agendas that it is willing to support.

Perhaps the words of the Great Communicator may sound an appropriate warning:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'


Ainsworth, D. (2008) Sector can apply for £20bn fund, Mandelson confirms: Financial support for small companies is open to charities too, says business secretary, Third Sector Online, 14 January 2009

Origin of term ‘Conductive Education’

More discussion elsewhere on CE blogosphere

This topic has been aired recently on Conductive World:

Have a look too, though, at Gill Maguire’s Conductive Education Library (and especially the back-and -orwards discussion that is unfolding in the Comments to the following posting:

You can find more still on Susie Mallett’s Conductor:

It is becoming increasingly realistic to refer to a ‘CE blogosphere’ as CE blogs begin increasingly to chime off each other. No doubt this process will, continue to develop as more CE blogs come on line over 2009.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Wide use of tax break towards funding CE in Ontario

Get in touch with Conductive World to pass on your news

Futher to the recent item on Conductive World about using the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit to help fund Conductive Education, I have received the following email from Mhairi (Vari) Watson, Senior Conductor, Ontario March of Dimes/March of Dimes Canada:

Hi Andrew - I was unable to post on Conductive World regarding Canada Children's Fitness Tax Credit - my work computer keeps telling me yours is a banned site!

Many of our families here apply for the tax credit each year and successfully receive the tax break. In fact after first implementing the credit they have increased it to $1000 for children with disabilities and have spoken of or have already raised the age to 21 (I am not sure which). The credit for this group of children also covers equipment, travel and attendant care costs - the theory being children may need additional help to participate in the activity.

It is unfortunate that we have to be considered as 'a physical activity program' but, like you say, for our families every little helps, and as we all know an increase in physical activity is just one of the wonderful results of participating in a CE program. Also by applying for the credit the government is hearing the name CE more and more, which is never a bad thing.

Hope all is well on your side of the pond. We are freezing with minus 25 temps...brrrr


So, wherever you live in Canada, your tax officer may have $1,000 credit waiting for you to apply for if you have not already done so. And do pass the information on to those who might benefit.

Comments, corrections, follow up...

...and anything that is wholly new.

No need I am sure to feel paranoid about OMOD/MODC’s computer system's banning Conductive World. Corporate computer systems do some funny things.

A somewhat different problem that may affect some more people is that Blogger’s own Comment system is rather too complicated for its own good. I know of at least two other people who were frustrated in trying to post a comment on Conductive World over the last few days, myself included.

Don’t be put off, have a go and as last resort write in like Mhari has done, particularly if you would like Conductive World to raise a wholly new topic:

Previous item and further information on this tax credit

Sutton, A. (2009) Possible tax break in Canada. Has anyone successfully used it? Conductive World, 8 January

Charitable funding for individuals in United Kingdom

Criteria seem to cover Conductive Education too

If you are looking for a grant to help your child access Conductive Education, you can apply to the charity Cauldwell Children:

Note that the above news report, from today’s Islington Gazette, should not be read as meaning that the charity only helps children and their families from London. The charity’s own website makes it clear that applications are welcome on behalf of children from all over the United Kingdom.

For further information, please contact Cauldwell Children direct:

Telephone enquiries: 0845 300 1348

Do pass this information on to someone who might benefit.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Small is beautiful

It may even be viable

Do you remember Schumacher's ‘Small is beautiful’? That was over thirty-five years ago now but his analysis of the fundamental unsustainability of the world economic orders seems suddenly very pertinent. Perhaps those now seeking a sustainable Conductive Education might find a useful model here.

(I personally favour a more radical model : ‘free’. More of that perhaps at some future time.)

Petit est beau

In the meantime, here’s a small-scale CE program, established formally only at the start of last year but moving forwards, recession or not. Twice last year last year Conductive World reported that the tiny association A Petits Pas in the small town of Pouilly-sur-Loire in deepest France was looking to recruit its first full-time conductor. It did sound rather idyllic.

Today I received through the email Lettre d’Info no 4 from Mélanie Jeannot of A Petits Pas.

From a standing start, A Petits Pas organised fifteen weeks of EC (that's CE in French) over 2008. Sixteen children came to meet a conductor and make acquaintance with the method. They came from all over France, and one from Brussels too, eight participating in sessions. Now the planned big step is being achieved:

En 2009, avec l'arrivée de Judit, conductrice (qui parle français !) à temps plein dans ses murs, EHM espère pérenniser son action et voir augmenter le nombre d'enfants participant aux sessions. Judit s'installe à Pouilly avec Peter son mari et leurs 2 filles. Le planning 2009 a déjà été envoyé aux parents et le groupe est complet jusqu'20 Mars et déjà 2 semaines en Avril. Deux places sont occupées à temps plein par Alice et Nicolas et 2 autres places sont destinées aux enfants venus de loin qui s'inscrivent à l'avance et à la semaine selon la disponibilité de leurs parents.

Now the association is looking for a volunteer (more if possible) to deal with communication and they also propose a salaried assistant’s post. The association always looks for accommodation, at the lowest possible price, preferably free, for families who stay in Pouilly (usually a mother + child) to take part in sessions. A variety of small-scale community fundraising events is in train, again volunteers are required.

Notes and references

Schumacher, E. F. (1999) Small is beautiful: economics as if people mattered: 25 years later...with commentaries. Hartley & Marks

Sutton, A. (2008) Another small step forward in France, Conductive World, 18 October

Sutton, A (2008) French movement gathers pace: parallels with Anglophonie, Conductive World, 6 April

Machine translation facilities are available at the foot of this page

Saturday, 10 January 2009

When/how did konduktív pedagógia and konduktív nevelés morph into Conductive Education?

Some contributions to a discussion

Elsewhere on the blogosphere Susie Mallett and Gill Maguire have been examining this question on their respective blogs and from their different perspectives.

The question has been previously exercised on Conductive World but is well worth returning to. Like Susie and Gill I hope that others will chip in to complement the discussion.

My contributions below are just random, end-of week snippets.

András Pető

The first formal expression of the term that I know of came in a rare published paper by András Pető (published, I think, in 1954, Gill will doubtless provide the correct bibliographic details when the Library reopens on Monday). I don’t know why this was written, or under what pressures. I do not know whether András Pető advanced the term at that particular time for particular micro-political reasons (for example to distance himself from medical criticism) or whether he had already been using the term in conversation or informal writings for some time. Human memory is too fallible a tool to answer this question. Maybe research in the archives of András Pető himself and of various official archives, desperately needed to answer all sorts of important questions, might prove fruitful.

What did András Pető call his approach later in his life? Unfortunately there is only one other Hungarian-language journal paper (again from the fifties, a strange ‘political’ document not directly related to konduktív pedagógia). There are also the (very strange) two books published in German towards the end of his life under the pseudonym Karl Otto Bärnklau. These books are not about Conductive Education, or anything that looks outwardly similar, but about Heilkunst (the art of healing). One of them, however, does drift close to the matter, having a tiny ’chapter’ called Körperlich Erziehung zum seelishen Gleichgewicht (Bodily education toward spiritual balance). This is immediately followed by an equally tiny chapter (not a lot to express what many regard as his life’s work), called Zerebrale kinderlähmung ist heilbar (Children’s cerebral paralysis is healable).

The two chapters offer no name for his method but maybe they do offer a tantalising clue about how he thought and spoke about it at that time of his life, at least in German. For example:

Die Anstalt für konduktive Bewegungspädagogik, eine Erziehungsstätte schlechthin, eine Erziehunsstätte für Kinder und Erwachene, ist zugleich eine grosse Station organische Nervenkrankheiten und ein Rehabilitationzentrum. (Bärnklau, 1965, pp. 69-70)

(The institution for conductive movement pedagogy, essentially a place for education, a place for eduction for children and adults, is at the same time a large ward for organic nervous diseases and a rehabilitation centre.)

He concluded this chapter as follows (perhaps his last published words on what has become Conductive Education as we presently know it):

Anwendung von nicht sehr grossen Mitteln, das gegebene Beispiel nachahmend, Schritt für Schritt alle, die einer solchen Wiederherstellung bedürfen, rechtzeitig erfassen und mir vollem Erfolge konduktiv erziehen könte. (Bärnklau, 1965, pp. 70-72).

By applying such small measures one could emulate the example given and, with the right intervention at the right time, step by step successfully educate all those in need of such rehabilitation conductively.

Make of this what you will but it does seem that, whether or not András Pető actually called his system konduktive Erziehung (‘education’, in the German sense), those who met and spoke with him in German might have reasonably drawn their own conclusions. I have no idea how he spoke about it in Hungarian, but the many Hungarians with whom I have spoken of this over the years have not taken kindly to the phrase that is its Hungarian equivalent, konduktiv oktatás.

This little chapter was written as a response to or elaboration upon a published report by a German visitor, Otto Klein. András Pető received a few visitors from Germany in the early-mid sixties. I hope that Gill might oblige again, by telling the terms that they used in their published reports.

Esther Cotton

When Esther Cotton visited in the mid-sixties it seems likely that she and András Pető conversed in German. If they did, then she may well have heard statements such as are quoted above (maybe even a noun arising from them).

As Gill writes in her blog, however, Esther Cotton herself did not use the term Conductive Education in print until 1967. What she actually said in the meantime, when talking in English about what she had seen, we do not know. Then, at the close of 1967, she published two articles using the term, and in 1968 Mária Hári came to England, and used both words, education, and pedagogy.

Mária Hári

Mária Hári came for this first visit with an interpreter, and Susie’s aperçu about why the switch was made from ‘pedagogy’ to ‘education’ in the translation of her first presentations is an interesting one. There is unlikely to be any way of knowing whether this was indeed the case but perhaps I can add one tiny bit of extra speculation to the analysis.

In an introductory note to these two papers when they were published as part of a collection of Mária Hári’s, I wrote:

The formal, slightly stilted language of the original manuscript bears the marks of having been written by an accomplished speaker of the sort of English common to educated Hungarians who have studied the language in Hungary. The original is probably the interpreter’s carefully prepared text based upon a Hungarian original in which Mária Hári was able to present herself with natural ease and fluency (Maguire and Sutton,, 2004, p.30).

If this surmise is justified, then perhaps Mária Hári had copies of Ester Cotton’s latest articles already in her hands to share with the interpreter when they were preparing for the visit, making the first use of this expression by a Hungarian a case of feed-forward…

Sheer speculation.

Conductive upbringing

I have no idea where this term first came from. I have not seen András Pető’s mentioning
konduktív nevelés
(conductive upbringing in Hungarian) and there is no echoe of it in Bärnklau’s books.

I have wondered recently whether this term was originally something official, perhaps part of a name dreamt up by the Hungarian Ministry of Education to describe the strange institution that had been passed to it by the Ministry of Health. The Education Ministry could hardly describe this establishment as ‘at the same time a large ward for organic nervous diseases and a rehabilitation centre’. Looking at how the place operated the in 1960s, nevelési intézet (upbringing institute, or boarding school) might have seemed the best option available to the educationists now responsible for it.

If this is indeed what happened, then the concept of upbringing intended here was rather different from that which some people, myself included, have subsequently imposed upon it.

As ever, further archival research is required, and then perhaps some reconsideration too.

Any the wiser for all this?

Possibly not, though Susie’s and Gill’s interventions have made me revisit things and sharpen up my understandings a little.

That is the benefit of discussion. Would that we had more of it in Conductive Education. I hope therefore for some critical responses from others.

Like Gill implies, there is a nice little PhD waiting to be done by someone who speaks German, Hungarian and English, and has a sound, basic knowledge of Conductive Education and the circumstances of the times out of which it arose.


Bärnklau, K. O. (1965) Unfug der Krankheit: Triumph der Heilkunst. Hanau/Main: Verlag Karl Schuster

Maguire, G. (2009) When did konduktív pedagógia and konduktív neveles become Conductive Education? Conductive Education Library, 8 January

Maguire, G., Sutton, A. (eds.) (2004) Mária Hári on conductive pedagogy. Birmingham: Foundation for Conductive Education

Mallett, S. (2009) Questions of conductive upbringing, Conductor, 8 January

Sutton, A. (2008) Terminological exactitudes. Can we begin to agree some basic terms? Conductive World, 19 August

Friday, 9 January 2009

All quiet on the economic front?

Things happening nevertheless

For a few days now Conductive World had refrained from mentioning economics and their possible effects upon Conductive Education.

This does not of course mean that the problem has gone away, rather that we are in a ‘phoney war’ stage that should lull nobody into false feelings of security.

The visible indications of disaster mount steadily around us. In the United States the favoured public index seems to be unemployment figures. In the United Kingdom the favoured index for popular discussion is the ‘high street’, with Viyella (founded 1784) and Wedgwood (1759) joining those who have gone gently into the dark night that swallowed Woolworths only a week or so ago. Even Germany is at last awakening to the fact that its economy has been over-dependent upon high-quality, high-cost luxury goods, and is now in the deepest…

No publicly available information yet about what is happening in CE but, as forecast, Conductive Education Support Services has announced its intention of expanding services and getting a bigger building, and a pletka has it that another small, personally run service in the UK is thinking of doing the same.

Meanwhile, a ‘Recession Watch Panel’ has forecast that the recession 'will hit medium-sized charities hardest'. Most CE charities in the UK are medium-sized, described in this context as ‘too small to cope with large losses yet too large to be agile’. Other words of gloom predictions are the downturn will result in more mergers of medium-sized charities and that ‘Darwinian’ pressures will put weaker charities most at risk. Nothing surprising there, then and no surprise either that no practical suggestions emerged.
Doubtless we shall all be very wise after the act!


Read, mark and inwardly digest

Continuing need for manualisation in CE research

This morning’s item (Sutton, 2009) on the research review from the Alberta Heritage Medical Research Foundation focusses upon its accessibility.

As for substance, here is a taste of the review's recommendations for future evaluations (both from page 31 of the report):

…the programs and therapeutic interventions need to be described at length, and it is desirable as noted by Lonigan et al. (1998) to utilize treatment manuals that provide a detailed description of the interventions. These authors state that ‘manualized treatment not only allows statements to be made concerning specific interventions but also provides the necessary detailed description and standardization for replication, dissemination, and adequate training of therapists.

The brief mention of manualisation opens the door on to a whole host of considerations, and further methodological literature, with profound implications for both the nature and the benefits of future research. So does this:

Qualitative methods of research could be used to study outcomes of CE. All of the studies reviewed were quantitative, even those attempting to examine parents' perceptions. It is clear from the work that was reviewed that there is very little understanding of the CE experience for children and perceived value to parents. Quantitative data cannot tell the whole story. Rigorously applied qualitative methodologies would help shed some light on this.

Really, every attempt at outcome-evaluation in CE-related research carried out since the year 2000 has been at fault if it has not at least considered questions raised by this thoughtful review and, better still, done something about them.

There should be no excuse now.


Lonigan, C., Elbert, J., Johnson, S. (1998) Empirically supported psychosocial interventions for children: an overview, Journal of Clinical Psychology, vol. 27, no 2, pp. 138-45

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

Sutton, A. (2009) Rejoice with me, for I have just found a URL that was lost, Conductive World, 9 January