A welcome and a few immediate comments
Susie Mallett’s Conductor blog has been offering regular and revealing views and insights of her personal conductive practice. Now she has presented a more formalised summative statement of what she has set out to achieve as a conductor over the last eighteen years.
You can see this extensive report of her conductive family upbringing (FCU), including three illuminative case studies at:
FCU has been developed with both children and adults.
Family conductive education
It has been long remarked that, if you really do feel the need to describe Conductive Education as a ‘therapy’, then it is more appropriate to do so in terms of a psychotherapy, rather then by what is usually meant by therapy with respect to children and adults with motor disorder. To do so is to open the way to all sorts of insights and analyses denied by the usual understanding that ‘CE is a form of therapy’.
FCU raises the sights higher still, introducing the notion of CE as family therapy. Again, this opens windows to whole new ways of thinking, and practice.
FCU explicitly extends conductive pedagogy in two potential dimensions:
- vertically, to incorporate long-term involvement in people’s lives, by different means.
- horizontally, to involve everyone and every activity in the child’s or client’s world
None of this precludes traditional conductive work in ‘groups’ (what Karóly Ákos used to describe as ‘institutional Conductive Education’) but rather offers this a new strategic purpose within a greater whole.
Nothing new under the sun
There is no reason to suppose that FCU is a unique formulation. As far as I know, however, it has not previously been described in this form (the book Dina, though, might be read in this way).
Individuals or conductors who work in this way yet have not described what they do have done a disservice both to their own hard work and to Conductive Education as a whole. (it is not too late to remedy this!).
Practice model, business model
There seems no a priori reason why FCU should not be offered by centres and associations. Indeed, granting the possibility of this approach’s offering long-term purpose and educational-developmental legitimacy to fragmentary experiences of conductive pedagogy (camps and other kinds of ‘blocks’, sessions, part-time attendance and even school terms), serious consideration of FCU might be thought a priority, not least in its potential contribution to effective dynamic inclusion service and possible economic advantages that might be associated with it, for everyone involved. It might at least be inteesting to try a comparative costing, to include capital as well as concurrnt costs over the course of a year.
Maybe it is, somewhere. We should be hearing about its different manifestations.
Susie Mallet has achieved necessary flexibility fot her practice at the cost of a certain economic precariousness. Individual conductors around the world seem increasingly to be seeing attractions in this, or to be faced with harsh financial necessities that demand different ways of practice. Again, we should hear more of what has already been experience in creating other FCUs
What do conductors think of what Susie Mallett has described?. What do centre-managers think? Most importantly, what about the punters, families of disabled children and adults? What’s attractive about this model, and what’s problematical from the point of view of service-users?
After all, fundamental to this practice-model is the primacy of consumer-choice and the corresponding necessity of adapting services to meet this.
FCU will not solve the present problems within Conductive Education but it may have an important contribution to make nevertheless. Nor will it on its own have much to offer for social policy. Again, however, one could see how it could serve a wider purpose as part of the now very much needed public re-presentation (the ’rebranding’ even – ouch!) of the potential benefits of the conductive approach in the twenty-first century.
Mallett, S. (2009) Questions of conductive upbringing, Conductor, 2 June