Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Read this: I feel awful about it

I do hope that I can change
Can you?

By Jennifer Thayer, mother of a son still not yet two –

Knowledge quest

Read, Read, Read.  It is what I do.  I have always been a big reader.  In Grade School, I would read on the bus, in High School, I would sneak my mom's romance novels. I was in "Adventure's In Reading" geeky kid group in school.  From Gone with the Wind toLonesome Dove,  Beowulf toFlowers in the Attic... I've read them all.  I've been in book discussion clubs and am a huge fan of those old musty buildings known as libraries (recently heard that line in a movie). 

When I met Bryan and found out that he was also a huge reader, I jumped for joy.  Finally, a guy I could talk literature with!  Together, we read novels and compare thoughts.  Every night, we read before bed.  We read the newspaper and discuss news stories at breakfast over coffee.  We read magazine articles, I'm embarrassed to say, in the bathroom.  I read while I breastfeed Roa at naptimes. 

Big followers of the written word.

Lately, my reading genre has changed.   All I read are books about Brain injury, Cerebral Palsy, Conductive Education and alternative therapies.  I read blogs from other great parents online.  Articles from medical journals about current research in motor delays.  Parenting clips on every developmental topic. 

Do I still enjoy reading?   Very much! However, my reading has taken on a new feel. I read with passion and a sort of desperation.  I read out of necessity to uncover the unknown.  I read out of love for my son that is guiding me through this maze of diagnosis', doctor reports, and therapist notes.  And I admit, I read out of fear.  Fear of failure and future heartache.

Bryan jokes with me, "Put down the book, log off the computer.  It will all be there tomorrow".  But, will I have the time tomorrow to fit my quest for knowledge in?

One of my greatest fears of late is that Roa, with his mid-brain injury, will not be able to read.  Language and the understanding of words and written symbol is a mid-brain, left hemisphere function.  Could it be that the son of two very avid readers COULD NOT READ??  It saddens me to no end to even have the dreadful thought.  

So, we read to Roa often and faithfully.  I read while we snuggle in the morning when he wakes, I read to him at naptime, Daddy reads to him each night at bed.  Roa has such a love of books and the stories they bring of firetruck sirens and bunnies with mamas who love them so much!  His eyes light up when we search for the hidden mouse or find the moon on the page.   

We love to read and we will read TO Roa for the rest of his life, if he cannot do so himself.  Because, no one should live a life without a good book that is being read.

Theyer, J. (2010) Knowledge quest, Roa Jo's Journey, 9 February

Where it's at...
I know that there are other people like Jennifer in Conductive Education, both service-users and service-providers. I strongly suspect, though, that they are in the minority. And I feel bad about them:
  • I feel strongly for that minority because of the mountains of garbage that they have to wade through in order to l find anything reliable and useful
  • I despair at the ability of CE to generate and attract all this garbage
  • I frequently castigate people for not producing more worthwhile themselves
  • And I humbly admit to feeling awful about not having done more myself for people like Jennifer.
Where it's gotta be...

Increasingly I feel that I should turn my own attention away from the 'conductive movement' as is, and leave it to sort out its own problems. Interesting those those problems can be, they do not on the whole relate directly to the lives of people like Jennifer and her family. Suchproblems are not the most important thing in the world of Conductive Education. By that analysis, even if the 'Conductive Education movement' could get its act together sufficiently to save its own bacon, then what ultimately will have been achieved to direct benefit to the grass roots, the punters, the service-users?. Lots, some will sreply. OK good luck to them, demonstrate it. Meanwhile, there is another way (see the epigraph of Dina, one book that Jennifer really ought to read if she never reads another thing!).

And for my part I should do more to bring home the bacon to families who need it, write a little more about upbringing rather than pedagogy, look to ways to get others to write who have a more practical contribution to offer than mine own, look to parents' movements as potentially the only wave strong enough to sweep CE up on to the shore.

If I expect anything for the future of Conductive Education in countries like those of North America or Europe, then I suspect that the best hope is through parents not 'professionals' (and sad to say, this might have to go for conductors too).

Over the next few months I shall have to prepare a statement on Conductive Education in the twenty-first century. Does anyone out there have any other governing ideas of what ought to go into this?


What do you recommend Jennifer to read, and what should she ignore? 
  • For the former, I propose that she should begin with Dina
  • For the latter, I suggest that, as a rough rule of thumb that she should ignore everything that talks about 'the principles of Conductive Education'
Well, what do others suggest to her?


  1. I think she could or should ignore the Doman books with the titles: Teach your baby to read and Multiply your baby's intelligence.

    She could read We go with him by Kristina Chew and The iron chicken by Emma, Dimitri's mother.

  2. Adelaide

    Did you actually read this posting by Jennifer Theyer? Where do you come up with the idea that she is reading the books you say that she should ignore, and not reading books like those you suggest?

    It is very important when parents are asking questions and starting out on a road to conductive upbringing that they get as much encouragement as they can.

    Jennifer and her husband certainly are exceptional in their concerns about reading as both Becky and I pointed out on the blog. I think Jennifer is streets ahead of all of us in knowing what and how to read with her son.

    Please be careful with this sort of, probably well intended, advice, it could backfire, it could even be discouraging and damaging.

    Susie Mallett