Monday, 15 March 2010


I think she's got it

This morning's weekly research round-up in CP Research News...

Why does one plough through this stuff week after week? Here's the answer – one that keeps old old-timer prospectors panning away till they drop –  suddenly there in all the the dirt and detritus, gleams something that just might be psychological gold.
Abstract. White matter lesions are often seen in children with spastic cerebral palsy (CP). Evidence points to specific impairment of attentional, visuospatial, and executive functions; although both attention and executive functions are relatively unexplored in spastic CP. The few recent studies on language functions in mild or moderate CP point to well-functioning language. The presence of specific cognitive impairments may, in part, explain why children with spastic CP have a higher risk of learning disabilities and problems in peer relations. However, to understand the development of cognitive impairments, it is necessary to include how social participation feeds back on cognitive processes.
Bøttcher, L. (2010) Children with spastic cerebral palsy, their cognitive functioning, and social participation: a review, Child Neuropsychology, vol. 5 pp. 1-20
I think she's got it! (as Professor Higgins said). But careful, Sutton, don't be too excited: it could be just fools' gold. There is no possibility of reading the article itself on line – so check out the author to see what else she has done.

Look what she published last year:
Abstract. Taking children with Cerebral Palsy (CP) as an example, the article seeks an understanding of children with disabilities that connects neuropsychological theories of neural development with the situated cognition perspective and the child as an active participant in its social practices. The early brain lesion of CP is reconceptualised as a neurobiological constraint that exists in the relations between the neural, cognitive and social levels. Through a multi-method study of two children with CP, it is analysed how neurobiological constraints arise, evolve and sometimes are resolved through local matches between the child and its social practices. The result is discussed as support of a developmental science approach that includes processes at the social practice level along with knowledge of biological processes.
Even better, it is published in an open-access journal. No excuses: you can read the article in full, for free, at:
Bøttcher, L. (2009) An eye for possibilities in the development of children with cerebral palsy: neurobiology and neuropsychology in a cultural-historical dynamic understanding, Outlines, no. 2, pp,1-16
This previous paper looks like leading on to a rich and valuable vein – as long as people in Conductive Education have the will to dig – richer by far than almost all the nonsense written under the much misused name of 'research' about Conductive Education.

A quick scan of her record on the internet shows more coming.

Excuse this uncharacteristically welcoming report. I shall doubtless return to Ms Bøttcher and her work, perhaps rather more critically, when I have time. Meanwhile, people in Conductive Education who protest serious concern about research could do far worse (as some doubtless will!) than reading her paper from 2009 mentioned above – so that, if I do return to this subject on these public pages, this will not be as a monologue.

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