Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Lesson from a conductive upbringing

It's a wilderness out there

From British Columbia, James Forliti writes –

Last night, while I was clearing out my tool room; I finally decided that I was probably not going to begin using the expensive, plastic commode chair that was ceremoniously foisted upon me by a well-meaning therapist last Autumn. The particular therapist who had the commode delivered to our house was so intent upon providing us with this wondrous piece of helpfulness that she even arranged the financing and payment.

.So,the thing was delivered – several years after Blue has been toilet-trained in my household. I tried it, but the 'footrest' is a flimsy plastic ledge that will not hold his weight, therefore he cannot step up into the thing. The straps and all their velcro take longer to put in place than the reason that he is being strapped in in the first place. And the best part is that the thing won't fit in my washroom over the toilet. Thus, something that requires a ceiling-mounted lift, and a renovation in the house; has gone the way of no-thanks.

I understand very well that many persons with cerebral palsy cannot bear their weight. I also understand that the parents of these people (like me) aren't getting any younger; but my particular son can still bear his weight and step around the house. Why would I, or any parent of a boy like him, begin using machines to do one of the few things that he can do for himself? Because I have a plastic contraption with velcro straps on to which I can winch him, I suppose. Not on my watch.

That`s what Conductive Education did for my family. It taught my son and me and Roxy how to function in a normal house. So, last night I opened the trap door on my back deck and wrestled the commode into the dry, dusty crawl space. And that is something about which neither I nor my son give a crap.

What is ingredient x in this family's conductive upbringing? I am struggling to find a neat expression to epitomise something essential here. Is it 'true grit' or 'the right stuff (both American), or is it 'moral fibre' (very British).

No, the Forlitis are Canadian, and Jim teaches English. Cue a couple of lines by Robert Service:

This is the Law of the Yukon, that only the Strong shall thrive;
That surely the Weak shall perish, and only the Fit survive.

And yes, Jim, I do know the rest of the poem – in comparison it makes Sarah Palin sound like the suburban housewife that she is – but there's a message in there for the parents, the disabled people, and those working with them, including conductors, who want to to realise the beautiful vision inherent within Conductive Education. As, as you also know from your day job, none but the brave deserve the fair.

Previous item on an essence of conductive upbringing


  1. Link at the end of the article is broken.

  2. Works OK for me...


  3. Hi Andrew. Just wanted to add a little information. I'm Canadian legally because I've been here so long, but I was born and raised in Minnesota. My wife is Mexican, works as an architect in downtown Vancouver. Thanks again for your support.

  4. Sounds pretty typically Canadian to me! Or am I being culturally insensitive?