Wednesday, 8 July 2009

What future for Conductive Education?

What do you think?

Four days ago Conductive World posted an item under the rather unpromising title of 'What use is physiotherapy?'

Rony Schenker, Professional Director of Tsad Kadima in Israel, neatly fielded this and threw it back challengingly into Conductive Education's own court:

It is not yet clear to what extent CE can make significant evidence-based change in the level of disability, activity or degree of participation for any given child. We can very soon find ourselves under the same demand as stated by Damiano, that CE have been shown for the most part to be marginally beneficial, and demand serious reconsideration by those who still advocate it.

I think we are already in this stage...

A long discussion on this matter (eleven posts so far) is now unfolding in the comments pages below this posting, and has spilled over on to Norman Perrin's blog as well (three further comments posted there), a level of Internet discussion almost unmatched since the demise of the old CE Discussion Forum.

You can find these at:

Four days are a long time in the life of a blog. Comments pages and the discussions that start on them are eaily buried by what follows after. You might therefore not have noticed these discussions.

You will certainly have opinions about the sort of things being said there. Why not join in these conversaions and make your voice heard?

Posting comments on blogs

You can add your comments either to the two postings where this discussion is already in progress

or at the foot of this page.

People can find this difficult to manage but it is fairly simple as long as you are patient.

To post a comment on Conductive World
  • Click on the word COMMENTS or Post a comment at the foot of the posting
  • First you will see all the comments so far posted on that topic
  • Then you will come to a box for your own comment if you wish to make one
  • Write what you want to say in the box provided
  • When you have finished and want to post, ignore most of the complicated stuff that comes next
  • Click on the button for NAME/URL
  • Just write your name (or a pseudonym) in the space provided.
  • There is no need to give a URL
  • Click on PREVIEW to check what you have written
  • Press PUBLISH

If you want to be anonymous then click the Anomymous button instead. Then there is nothing further for you to fill in.

To post a comment on Norman's blog

  • Go to the small print at the fotof the posting
  • Click on Comments
  • First you wil see all the comments so far posted on that topic
  • Then you will come to a box for your own comment if you wish to make one
  • Write what you want to say in the box provided
  • When you have finished and want to post, ignore the complicated stuff
  • Just write your name (or pseudonym, if you prefer) in the spaces provided
  • There is no need to give a URL
  • Click on PREVIEW to check what you have written
  • Press POST

It is not as complicated as it sounds when broken down into its parts!

Still Stuck?

If you still have have real problem in posting your comment, email it to


or to

asking for it to be posted for you.


  1. Andrew,

    Over the past few years it has been nigh impossible to get conductors to record, write, discuss, even criticise what they do, for submission to the RACE journal.

    Perhaps they have not felt able, ready, or confident to do so. Blogs such as Susie's seem an ideal way to get practice written down and surely more conductors are beginning to realise that they need to do this to establish what is 'proper' CE.

    If they don't participate in discussions such as this one, or speak out in defence of their 'profession', they will not be able to influence the outcomes that you and Rony suggest are necessary. Others may decide for them.

    This topic has been proposed for the World Congress December 2010, and I hope as many conductors as possible will be able to go, or at least to send papers to be read for them if that will be possible. But that is over a year away, so what can be started now?

    Are there enough people ready and willing to work together to achieve a satisfactory way forward? Maybe the number of responses to your posting will suggest that there are.

    If there is any way I can contribute whilst not being a conductor, please let me know.


  2. No need to be self-effacing for not being a conductor.

    Conductors do not 'own' conductive Education, they are an essential part of its workforce.

    Another essential component of the field comprises those people who have set up services, and who run them, those who have articulated and advocated the system, those who have against all the odds found the small fortunes to fund the conductive movement.

    The two groups overlap only very slighly, since few conductors have taken leading roles in the latter activities, which are undertaken by people from all walks of life. AP and MH, by the way, belonged to this latter group. So do you.

    (There are other, smaller sub-sectors too. These include the 'researchers' but so far these have been by and largely parasitic upon Conductive Education, more likely to detract from rather that enhance its well being.

    You mention the upcoming World Congress. It will be intersting to see what cutting-edge role conductors play there.

    One often hears how much conductors fume and despair at the understandings and actions of the non-conductors with whom they work.

    I wonder whether they know the common themes that emerge when non-conductors around the world discuss matters confronting them i heir work.

    Conductiv Educatio is too important to be left to the conductors. It is a crying shame that the word 'multidisciplinary' has been so misused in the world of Conductive Education as to be almost unusable now in this context.

    Iwould be nice to be able to use it here to discuss this complex whole.


  3. "Conductive Education is too important to be left to the conductors."
    This is a very hard statement Andrew! Not leaving much hope for any change in attitudes or actions from the conductors' side. I in person know more than several conductors around the world who have these abilities, yet, they need a shephered. They don't dare, as Gill wrote, and they are so deeply busy with 'surviving', that (according to Maslow's pyramid of needs), they are far from being able to fulfill themselves and bring this profession to the position and development which it diserves. The profession is still stuck in the bottom of the pyramid of satisfying basic needs.
    I hope that you meant in 'not leaving it to the conductors' that we are committed to lead a partnership in order to 'stay on the map'(not only virtualy: conductors, parents/families, and other related professions. The leader could be a conductor or not, that does not really matter as long as he/she perfectly understand what CE is all about. Preferebly, it should one day be a conductor. History shows us, as you mentioned, that almost all leaders in the conductive world (including Hungary)were non conductors.It is time to ask ourselves WHY?

  4. I agree that conductors are busy with survival, especially now in the current financial meltdown and no-one is more aware of this than me.

    This combined with relative isolation makes it harder for them to become a profession in agreement and working together, which would form a basis for acceptance and respect by others, and their own future development. CE needs to be on a world stage and good knowledgeable conductors need to be a part of it to make sure what is said is right.

    This is one of the biggest issues for conductors and there are not yett enough of them , or enough of them willing willing and able to make the transitition from practitioners to academics or 'promoters', to become leaders in the real sense.

    Conductors do no't want to lose control of their profession, I am sure, but unfortunately those that pay the wages call the tune, so all parties need to work together to go forward.

    It is easy for those of us who are not conductors to say how things should be and perhaps our enthusiasm for CE carries us away sometimes.

  5. I agree with Rony - it's not only about willingness but confidence and support. This support could be from others with knowledge, funders, researchers, employers etc. Conductors have traditionally been seen as crucial to the practice and less so to the academic debates - this is historical however history does so often shape the future - or in this case the present.
    We do not have the luxury of university departments who spend their time analysing, researching and publishing - employing professionals for this reason.
    CE literature, articles, publications and especially research have been heavily criticised often by those who 'know' about CE. Often much written and said about conductive education does not include the opinion of conductors or even ask for it. This breeds a lack of confidence in the profession rather than a lack of will. It saddens me to see comments about a lack of willingness in conductors when time after time we hear that what is published (including that by conductors) is of little or no value and does not help us move forward.
    Perhaps the problem is internal- it is a question of nurturing - dare I say 'upbringing'! Conductors need to feel valued by non-conductors as well; we are professionals who have the ability and willingness to work for the wider cause of CE but feel that often our contribution is not worthwhile; or worse may be riduculed and added to the long list of 'not very good'.
    The question of WHY it is mainly non-conductors who contribute to the academic debate is a good one. Perhaps it is down to an expectation that we are 'good at doing' but not 'good at saying or writing'.
    On a different note at NICE we have received a large grant from Social Services to research CE in relation to stroke. This is a very exciting project and will help with the wider recognition of CE for adults however will this also be added to the debate of 'poor research'?! There is an active Conductors Association in the UK; there are a number of conductors carrying out their own research/ evaluation etc. Yes, the numbers are small but this is proportionate to the numbers within the profession.
    Even the academic world of CE needs conductors; I agree that one day it could/should also be headed by conductors but in the meantime support, nuturing and a removal of the fear that 'we are not good enough' to make a real contribution to academic debate. I know that there are a number of conductors doing just this. Describing practice is not enough but we need the breaks. So, who can help to get articles published in peer journals? Who can help give conductors confidence that they really do have the skills and who can help structure a system which sees this as an essential part of the development of CE?
    So - not a a lack of willingness - in fact far from it - conductors as a profession want to contribute to this as much as everyone within the field. They do however need to feel they have an opinion which is valued, respected and acknowledged by the 'more academic' people within CE and then externally.
    Conductors are presenting in a number of external conferences, workshops etc. All of these on a par with other professionals - the most critical audience is often the internal one!
    Rony - CE is certainly in danger of the same criticism as other areas; time is running out - I agree with you whole heartedly and just hope that we can all work togther to help conductors enter into this academic debate to protect and develop their own profession. I strongly feel that we have a generation of conductors able and very willing to do this - let's suppport and nurture this rather than criticise.

  6. As an observer of early childhood intervention, and as a supporter of CE, can I applaud this debate and at the same time bemoan the dearth of science in ECI? While the professional world is getting its act together, here is what one blind, UK child with cerebral palsy enjoyed (suffered?) in his pre-school years:

    Physiotherapist, speech therapist, medication for epilepsy, ‘doctor at the eye clinic’, sensory rooms, ‘oxygen tanks’, patterning, Reiki, cranial osteopath, muscle tapping (all in the first year), and then a private Peto-trained conductor (who helps with the patterning!), music therapy, Steiner nursery, massage, ‘rocking’ therapy, a ‘second skin’, Botox, and faith healing.*

    The child did well, but was this because of the interventions or despite them? Who knows which were effective, which were harmful? Who knows how these interventions impacted on each other?

    In the absence of science in ECI, this is what parents might subject their babies to. In the absence of science, professionals cannot provide solid information to inform parents’ choices. CE gives us all a light to follow in this twilight world of magic and mystery.

    * This list comes from my review of 'Blue Sky July' which you can see at: