Wednesday, 12 May 2010

North American Awareness

March of Dimes is more than Tail-End Charlie

It is some time now since the general North American Awareness event in February but one specific happening had to be held over because the Ontario Legislature was prorogued until April. Well worth doing, in order to raise awareness of Conductive Education among legislators, political aides, and policy makers.

Ontario's Conductive Education Awareness Day came on 28 April 28.

Toronto-Centre MPP (and former Mayor or Winnipeg), Glen Murray sponsored a March of Dimes Conductive Education Awareness Day in the Ontario Legislature in Queen's Park, Toronto, by reading a Member's Statement, recorded in Hansard, and a reception/town hall in the Legislative Dining Room at Queen's Park for service-users, MOD staff and MPPs.

This is what Mr Murray read out –
MARCH OF DIMES
Mr. Glen R. Murray: I would like to welcome to the Legislature, from the March of Dimes organization, up to my left, Jerry Lucas, Gail Mores, Brent Page, Donna Mackay, Steven Christianson, Janet Macmaster and many members of the conductive education program.
I am proud to rise in the Legislature today to recognize and give my heartfelt thanks to the participants, families, caregivers and staff members from the March of Dimes conductive education program. Members may not know that conductive education is a unique teaching system that maximizes the independence and mobility of children and adults with neuromotor disabilities, like stroke, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, acquired brain injuries and Parkinson's disease.
Conductive education takes advantage of the brain's neuroplasticity: the lifelong ability of the brain to reorganize neuro-pathways based on new experiences. So no matter how severe the disability, people can learn and improve when they are motivated.
Conductive education has the potential to make a significant life-changing impact on the mobility and independence of close to nine million people in North America, and is operated from the offices of our very own March of Dimes, an organization that has been helping improve the lives and livelihoods of Ontarians with disabilities for nearly 60 years. Conductive education helps individuals learn their way to greater independence.
I hope the House will join me in congratulating our guests from the March of Dimes for their commitment to inclusion and accessibility. I ask all members to support the March of Dimes' conductive education awareness day.
http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/house-proceedings/house_detail.do?Date=2010-04-28&Parl=39&Sess=2&locale=en
The Statement was carried live on the Ontario Legislative Channel and a copy will go up on the March of Dimes website.

Those who called in on the reception included two Ministers (Health and Long-Term Care, and Children and Youth Services).

A formal commitment has been made by Glen Murray and the Minister of Health, Deb Matthews, to meet during the summer recess and discuss further opportunities around Conducive Education. March of Dimes Canada is committed to getting Conductive Education on to as many political agendas as possible. It intends to make such a day an annual event in Ontario and is planning a similar event for the Legislative Assembly in Nova Scotia in October.

Some comments
  1. This sounds an impressively orchestrated political intervention, pitched at an appropriate level, especially with respect to the intention to extend such political lobbying/awareness-raising in the not-far future.
  2. Wot no Education? They do have special education still in Canada. Why no education minister?
  3. Some time ago now Conductive Education had at least two airings in the Nova Scotia Legislature, on 27 November 1998 and 7 April 1999, and at least one on the Alberta Legislature, on 8 December 1999. There may have been others. This awareness day, however, seems the first time that Conductive Education has got itself into the written record in the Ontario Legislature. I gather, by the way, that Gill Maguire is currently compiling a listing of on-line references to Conductive Education in the records of legislatures around the world.
Meanwhile I cannot resist commenting that I am beginning to treasure gems like this one:
Conductive education takes advantage of the brain's neuroplasticity: the lifelong ability of the brain to reorganize neuro-pathways based on new experiences. So no matter how severe the disability, people can learn and improve when they are motivated.
I don't blame Mr Murray for this, he just read the stuff. But why do people think it necessary or meaningful to write such things? Surely nobody in Canada thinks in this way when it comes to training ice-hockey players or concert-pianists.

I guess that this means that people can learn, if they want to. So why not just say so? Much quicker and more sense – it even leaves room for a few wards about what might be done to ensure that it happens that way.

Note

Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Queen's Park

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