Friday, 15 January 2010

Wow! What do you know?

Not a lot, in my case

I have only just noticed something that conductor Orsolya Tóth-Pető wrote on Facebook some five weeks ago –

Orsolya Tóth-Pethő to all in the conductive education world out there. Please watch MSNBC's report on a "new breakthrough" on helping children with Cerebral Palsy.

please comment!

On Facebook anyway, only her husband Tibor responded. The world of Conductive Education did not. So here's another chance for people to do so, should they wish.


What do I think? I can't boil it down. Thoughts that lie too deep for tears, perhaps. My mind just staggered off into trivial bye-ways.
  • This 'robotic therapy' is happening at Chicago's Rehabilitation Institute, an institution that can lay good claim to be one of the leading medical-rehabilitation centres in North America. I went there myself a year or so ago, in September 2008, when it hosted ACENA's Fifth Annual Conference. 'So near yet so far' is the nearest that I can get to thinking anything sensible about that silent passing in the night.
  • A very quick check tells me that this robotic therapy started on adult stroke-survivors and hailed originally 'from Europe' (from Switzerland, to be precise). Again, nothing but nonsense comes immediately to mind, associations with all those extra-corporeal mechanisms, bungees, springs, space-suits and such, from Central and Eastern Europe. Say what you like, but you cannot say here: 'Only in America...'
  • Nor can you say that it is Conductive Education alone that is subject to that mind-muscle formulation: 'It's the brain re-establishing connections between nerve to nerve, nerve to muscle...'. This naïve statement of cerebral palsy stretches further afield, at least across the frontier between NBC and CBS. Perhaps one can take comfort in this. Perhaps not.
  • And to a parochial and insular Brit, that Dr Snyderman, she's something else, an alien species. Her online biog. says:.'Dr. Nancy Snyderman has never been afraid to re-invent herself when she thought the time was right' (like Dr Who, I guess). 'While in medical school, Dr. Silverman realized that perhaps the biggest obstacle anyone faces is self-doubt.' She certainly seems to have cracked that one. She and the interviewer-lady together: a non-gainsayable sub-culture, if ever there was one. Who would dare question the medical hegemony in such a context?
As I said, all trivial. Maybe others can bear to take the actual substance of 'robotic therapy' further. I can't.

Anyway, thank you, Orsolya, for bringing this item to the further attention that it deserves...


– (2009) New hope in battle against cerebral palsy, Today's Heath, 9 December

Robotic therapy for children

Robotic therapy for adults

Nancy Snyderman


  1. Andrew Sutton apologises that he has this week had to upgrade the 'security' on these Comments, to keep the spammers at bay.

    It is now harder for everyone to post. The following Comment has been posted on behalf of Orsolya Tóth-Pethő.


    After all, somebody responded.

    Thanks for your input I appreciate it.

    Somehow, even though CE has been existing for soo long, nobody (from the professional world in the United States) seems to understand and acknowledge officially, that learning takes human beings the furthest in their development in their life. Not machines or robots.

    The basic theory of CE is so simple and so human. In today's societies, countries choose expensive devices and robots (if you like) instead of teaching and learning. It is really sad.

    They keep saying: treat people with disabilities as people. Well, I hope one day it will happen for all individuals in need."

    Orsolya Tóth-Pethő

  2. Mr Sutton:

    I remember that a space suit from the Rockefeller Centre was tried on Jacqueline du Pre.

    Did it work? Not very well.

    (And the myelin was going from when she was eight at least).

  3. Just testing, Andrew, whether or not I am affected by your new anti-spammers security arrangements in posting a comment.

    Everything looks the same so far. Here, we go ...... Publish!

  4. Adelaide Dupont

    Could the space-suit that you mention be the neoprene or lycra suits that are used for both MS patients and children with athetoid cerebral palsy amongst others. The idea of these suits is that the client has a constant pressure on the part, or parts of the body that are difficult for them to control. It is hoped that by wearing such a suit that a higher self awareness is developed and the person will gain more and more physical control. These suits are worn as an article of clothing and not as a form of therapy.

    Yes this does sometimes work, but sometimes it doesn't.
    These suits have nothing to do with finding a cure or in the case of MS stopping damage to the nerve's myelin sheath.

    Susie Mallett