Tuesday, 31 May 2011

ANN MINTRAM

Kiwi's pivotal contribution to world CE story

The early contributions to a social movement, even when absolutely pivotal, can so easily drop out of collective consciousness, however much such contributions may have affected the lives of people today. Without Ann's intervention thirty or so years ago the lives of everyone currently touched by Conductive Education would have been be immeasurably different.

Conductive World has only once before mentioned Ann, just over three years ago, in an item on what English-speakers erroneously call 'verbal regulation
The enormous psycho-pedagogical tradition of which the work of Luriya and Vygotskii were important parts were not taken up in the West outside a very narrow group. It was when examining Soviet defectological approaches and achievements that I myself toyed with ‘verbal regulation’ – at which time my then student Ann Mintram (now retired in New Zealand) said something like ’Have you heard of Conductive Education? It looks just like what you were talking about?' But that’s another story
It is time that more of this story be told. I was recently prompted to dive into my memory, from which I produced the following account that might be of wider interest, in New Zealand and elsewhere...

In 1979 I worked for part of my time in the School of Education at the University of Birmingham, supervising the odd postgraduate dissertation and researching Soviet education and psychology. Inevitably, the two at times overlapped.

That year I was approached by a New Zealander called Ann Mintram who was at the University for a year doing an MEd in Special Education. She had heard one of my lectures and followed up by reading something that I had written, about a diagnostic technique in the the Soviet Union involving motor coordination. She wondered whether she might do a dissertation on trying it out in Birmingham.

She explained to me that she had been a physical education teacher in NZ but, finding herself getting a bit long in the tooth, decided to move on to something else, the education of children with physical disabilities. She had not wanted, however, to do something that she was not trained for and looked for an appropriate training to prepare her for this second career.

The NZ Government used to be very generous with training scholarships to the UK but by 1979 there was no longer any specific training for teaching such children in the UK. Birmingham University at that time was still a major centre for special education research and teaching so she came there with the intention of patching together relevant study and experiences for herself relevant to her chosen field. She was successful in this, and I was part of what she arranged.

Her studies went well, and so did her dissertation. Towards the end of the summer term she came to me with some copies of photocopied handouts that she had obtained from another student living in the hostel where she was living.

'Did you know that there is something very like what you are talking about, in a school in Sussex?' she asked.

No I did not, and the prosperous south coast of England was the last place that one would look to find a Soviet bridgehead!

She passed me the photocopies sheets of paper and they both excited and puzzled me. Yes, there were references to Soviet work, and yes, the work described at that school, apparently derived from Hungary, was strangely evocative. Remember, this was still the time of the Cold War, and Hungary was behind the Iron Curtain, firmly under Soviet control. So what was going on here? I opened a file, and promised Ann that I should keep an eye out, and perhaps find out more.

'There's a short course on this at the school at the start of next term, but I shan't be able to go on on it because I shall be back home in New Zealand,' she told me, 'so I've put your name down for it.'

Ah Kiwis. Do they ever accept No for an answer?

So that September, with Ann now back home in Auckland, off I went to this funny little three-day course, run by Ester Cotton. A sequence of events followed over the next few years, leading directly to the explosion of world interest in Conductive Education in 1986 following broadcast of Standing up for Joe.

So, in a very important sense, it was a NZer who started off the whole process of internationalising Conductive Education.

I have long since lost touch with Ann....

The above is a reminiscence only. The tale merits proper documentation – when I can manage it!

Reference

Sutton, A (2008) The Soviet connection, Conductive World, 9 April

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Science and engineering

And the human principle

A couple of snippets, from facing pages in this week's issue of New Scientist magazine–

… our beliefs come first and our explanations – or rationalisations – follow … philosophers of science have long argued that our theories, or beliefs, are the lens through which we see the world, making it difficult for us to accesss an objective reality.
(Amanda Gefter's review of Michael Shermer's The Believing Brain)

Engineering tends to start with what is technologically possible … talk about experiences instead. Taking a shower, for example: you don't need to know about plumbing works, but what people love about taking showers. This approach creates very different solutins
(Anthropologist Genevieve Bell, interviewed by Jeremy Webb)

There is no need to labour either point with respect to Conductive Education, its understanding, research, communication and training.

References

Geftner, A. (2011) Review of M. Shermer, The Believing Brain, London, Times Books, 2011, in New Scientist, 28 May, p. 49

Webb, J. (2011) Intel anthropologist: fieldwork with the silicon tribe. Anthropology gives Genevieve Ball a unique take on new technology, in New Scientist, 28 May, p. 48

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Is this as bad as it gets?

CE as Gobbledegook

What is Conductive Education?

In 1945 Hungarian healthcare doctor Furthermore educator Andras Peto Make certain a fresh education Entire body With method Also planned To him. This solution broke emerging Haven To make the rehab of babies And yet older people in whose motor impairments begin Right from problems on the Single scared system. The problem Is really A large number of made to All of us While Shakespeare’s III. Richard: “I That experts claim I’m curtailed Period Nice proportion/Cheated Associated with supply Electronic mailbox dissembling nature, Deformed, unfinished, posted Preceding Do not time/Into It O2 we get world, rare 50 percent of offered for sale up/And Your so lamely And as a consequence unfashionable/That dogs bark at Honest bloggers Due to I complete By way of them.”

I do hope you got that. You can read the whole glorious fiasco at:


(Incidentally, for those of you who recognise in the above the familiar lines by Shakespeare, King Richard III did not have cerebral palsy, or any deformity physical or mental. But the Tudors did have a remarkably good writer contributing to their dynastic public relations campaign.)

Where did this article come from?

This is what the above posting was adapted:


(includes video)

It was written by Tibor Rozsahegyi is a veterinary surgeon who has settled in Cnanada. Inter alia, he now writes freelance articles for distribution on the Internet, as a 'Platinum Level Expert Author'. One of these articles concerns Conductive Education:

This article was remarked upon briefly as part of a longish item on Conductive World a year ago:


See how they run

Since then Google has notified me about this article's re-publication in a variety of ezines. A more methodical search shows the following results:


I leave it to you to count.

Moi, jealous? You bet!

I suppose that at one level one should be glad that awareness Conductive Education has so penetrated Cyberspace and is so available to anyone who wants to know about it at the click of a button. Never mind the quality, feel the width. Any publicity is good publicity.

This is not the only duff stuff on Conductive Education to have gone viral. Bad coin drives out good. The ' noise' on the Internet is beginning to mount and drown out better messages.

How did this recent gobbledegook arise?

And now Mr Rozsahegyi's article has risen to a higher plane. How did it emerge in this new form? Who knows? My guess is through a three-fold process:

  • plagiarise Mr Rozsahegyi's article, all of it
  • machine-translate it into another language (possibly Chinese?)
  • machine translate this translation back into English.
Your guess is as good as mine.

Why do it? Again, you guess. Here's my scenario. Uncritical, unthinking plagiarism is now a common enough feature of CE on the Internet. Translate into another language – fair enough, perhaps a public service. Retranslate back into English? Perhaps to hide plagarism. Who knows? Who cares? It has been done and there is no undoing it.

It just goes to show

There are no depths to which public writing on Conductive Education can sink! And yes, the situation can get worse. See this one,for example, a blog posting notified two days ago:


At least it displays he virtue of brevity.

The only answer to being drowned out by this annoying noise is for the real messages of Conductive Education to be broadcast loudly and clearly, rationally and consistently, and not just on the ever more problematic Internet but through other media too.

What odds...?

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Testing, testing

Does this work?

Click on the arrow, and be a little patient...




Yes,  just about

I should like to juggle with the format a little but would probably lose what I have already done! Better next time perhaps.

'Make your own book'

If you would like to make your own, then go ahead and click on these words above. You are on your own now. Good luck.

If, however, you are interested in submitting a proposal for a book to be published by CONDUCTIVE EDUCATION PRESS, them please get in contact to begin discussion:

.
CEP is fully booked up now with publishing projects to last us the rest of 2011 but it will soon be 2012. It is never too early to start!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A jot more on SEN

It is getting too dull to watch

Tuesday's meeting of the House of Commons Education Committee meeting seems to have underwhelmed the media.

'Special educational needs' are hardly a sexy topic, and yesterday's meeting attracted virtually no press coverage. The experts' contibution evoked no comment at all (just as well, one might think). Ms Teather's chirpy Ministrial performance performance occasioned little grounds for optimism for those who place faith in 'joint working'.optimism.




The review of the rotten state of 'special educational needs'seemed briefly to hold out such promise because of David Cameron's personal understanding and involvement. He has had other, more pressing matters on his hands and the same old self-perpetuating machine has taken over. The ball has been dropped, or rather kicked right out of the First Division, straight down into the Third, with the Minister seemingly content to let it then fall still further, into the non-league of the local authorities. There won't be many hanging around to watch the rest of the game.

Previous posting on this topic

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Personal suceess from a conductive upbringing

Something to shout about

From Chicago, Patti Herbst writes with news of her son Justin –

Justin graduated from Southern Illinois University last Friday
Celebration!!! Now on to finding a job and moving out!
Justin attended CE programming 1/2 day and 1/2 day full inclusion in public school from grades 6th - 12th.  Dual participation in a CE Program and a "condensed fully included setting" is successful and his graduation from University is the best evidence of it!
Despite having profound CP (spastic quadriplegia), Justin lived independently in a University dorm setting for 5 years and was able to attend classes independently, without the need for a one-on-one assistant in the classroom. Like most people with cerebral palsy, Justin is an auditory learner, and CE helped reinforce those much needed classroom skills (especially given he cannot take notes by hand efficiently).
Justin graduated with a 3.49 GPA (out of 4) with a major in History and a minor in Philosophy.  This is the child who tested in the lowest 10% in all standardized tests throughout Grade School and High School.  Parents should not place too much reliance on standardized tests – obviously they do not measure the true 'ability' of students with cerebral palsy!
lt really "took a village" for Justin to achieve this incredible goal.  A huge thank you to all of our family and friends for helping him in his journey!

Patti is Executive Director of the Center for Independence through Conductive Education

Graduation photo


Read more about Justin's upbringing

Herbst, P. (2010) Independence for Justin, In Jo Grahame, Chas McGuigan and Gillian Maguire (eds.) Intelligent Love: Parents' Action for Conductive Education, Birmingham, Conductive Education Press, pp. 125-133

To order a copy of this book, and others in the LIBRARY OF CONDUCTIVE EDUCATION series:


On ability and potential

Many psychologists remain rather 'quaintly' hung up on the standardised-testing paradigm of the early twentieth century. Forty-odd years ago, when I trained as a psychologist (in the UK) it was strictly counterindicated to use standardised texts on non-standard populations (such as children with cerebral palsy) – never mind the more fundamental issues around such passive evaluation! Has that window really slammed shust?

The stubborn persistence of that paradigm, despite all the technical, theoretical, ethical and political issues around it, is of course not unique to the United States, and 'CE-research' often falls victim to it. Thus you may find two populations of cerebrally palsied children tested on a standardised test of something or other. When the results are compared it may be concluded that one group's experiences (exposure to CE for example) has incurred no advantage. It could of course be equally concluded that neither group could do the test, the results of which are therefore not valid.

I suggest that anyone coming across psychologists using standardised tests on cerebrally palsied children either for individual 'assessment' or for research purposes, should make a formal complaint to the psychologist' professional association. At the very least, this should cause a punishing fuss.

Conductive Education deals with potential, not 'ability', and potential is created out of social-psychological interaction in the material context of living, etc. etc... (passim!). Its paradigm is through-and-through dynamic, and parents should demand an appropriate dynamic assessment... such as a period experiencing conductive pedagogy/upbringing.

As Justin and his family have demonstrated!

A big step for Australia

And for everyone else too

From Carson Street School in Perth, Western Australia, conductors Shona Ballantyne and Natalie Fitzpatrick, write –

Federal Government in Australia has recognized conductors as 'early intervention specialists' in a new initiative which provides families with children with CP with extra funding to access early intervention. 'Better start for children with disabilities (Better Start) inivitative is rolling out from July this year. For further information go to:
Follow links to Better Start. Operational guidelines on pp.8-9 mention conductors specifically.
What does this mean for recognition of conductors as a profession? Also will it help us get conductors into the country?

A major step forward in Australia's long and checkered story of establishong conductive services in Australia – and a major precedent to quote for CE's advocates arguing the case in other countries .

So, congratulations involved to all those who conributed to this breakthrough – and thank you, Austrlia, on behalf of us all.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The Green Paper

Zzzzzz.....

I have just been watching a meeting of the House of Commons Education on Parliament TV, on the Internet.

Special Educational Needs Green Paper
Witnesses
  1. Lorraine Petersen OBE,  National Association for Special Educational Needs, Jane McConnell, Independent Parental Special Education Advice, Professor Geoff Lindsay, Director, CEDAR, University of Warwick, Sue Bourne, Head, The Avenue School, Reading
  2. Sarah Teather MP, Minister of State, Department for Education

All very civilised and affable, lots of polished oak and green leather. Not terribly well attended but the Chairman and Members did try to find clear answers.

'Experts'

I do hope that the experts left the Committee wiser than they left me. Responses continually failed to distinguish between disability and the far wider category of 'special educational needs' (with the talk veering towards disability) and  general responses were often diverted by some specific examples (again, often a disablility one)

The experts droned on for an hour...needs...speech and language...autism...early intervention...issues...budgets...support...parents as partners...mediation...skills...outstanding...assessment...assessment...assesment...
As often, it was not what was ctually said that was interesting. That was not a lot, the usual stuff. Not a single surprise, no spark of innovation, no glimpse of vision beyond the current battlefield. Not a word about pedagogy, about different kinds of 'need' and how to respond differently to these, nothing fundamental.

The Minister

Chirrupy and positive and plenty to say. She looks forward to great 'cultural changes', apparently important amongst these being 'engagement', 'dialogue', and 'resources used more effectively', with 'pilots soon to be rolling out'...

I have to confess that attention began slipping, letting go almost altogether as I heard: 'It is inevitble that local authorities will take the lead, as they have the long-term expertise of people who have had that role for a long time'.

No danger of anything fundamental there either.

What next?

Who knows? More of the same or – if it's money that you are talking about – less of it. The linked establishments, the political-bureaucratic and academic-professional, will continues to generate an ever-thickening fog of second- and third-order questions. Higher-order questions of what it's all about, fundamental questions of anomalous human mental development and how society might respond to these, will remain safefy buried – and we shall remain condemned to discussion, decision-making and wasted opportunity of the same sort as before.

A historic opportunity has been missed and another generation is back on the wheel.

Judge for yourself

It looks like this two-hour broadcast will stay at the following URL for a month:


After that it will be archived but remain available on line.

Previous item on the Green Paper


Friday, 13 May 2011

Lying bastards

Stinking fish

Thesis

On Wednesday The Independent newspaper reported on the Government's 'free school' initiative (the Michael Gove mentioned, by the way, is England's Secretary of State for Eductation) –

Nine out of 10 Free School applications fail to pass first test
Ministers have have been forced to turn down nearly nine out of 10 applications to set up new schools as part of the Government's flagship education scheme.
The Independent has learnt that since Michael Gove's Free School programme was launched last year, just 40 out of 323 proposals have been accepted for consideration.
Of those, only four have received a promise of Government funding. Another application has been withdrawn and most of the remaining 35 schools will not open until 2012.
The remaining 283 have been turned down and the applicants told they must re-apply under stricter criteria. These are designed to show they are "fit and proper" people to run a school.
The revelation, which has not been officially announced, is embarrassing for ministers. When the scheme was launched last September, Mr Gove said that he had been "flattered and excited" by the extent of interest in the programme and "enthusiasm" shown by applicants.
But despite assigning almost 100 civil servants to work on the policy – a key part of the Conservative election manifesto costing £4 million – the scheme has not had the impact hoped. Downing Street sources said that while the Academies programme had been a huge success, the same was not true of Free Schools. "I guess you'd give Michael [Gove] a six out of 10," they said. "The problem with Free Schools is that the scheme was designed to fill gaps in areas where there are poorly performing schools. But that's not where the applications have come from."
Sources in the Education Department denied this was the case and said they always expected the Free Schools programme to take longer to come to fruition. "We expect to have at least 10 new schools up and running by September, which is a huge achievement when you consider the track record of the previous government," one said.
Mr Gove has never set a target for the number of Free Schools to be set up. However, in an interview during last year's election campaign, he said a capital programme which would finance 20,000 extra school places a year – between 50 and 100 depending on size – had been agreed.
But after the election he acknowledged this had been scaled down. A statement from the Department for Education said: "The quality of proposals we received was varied with some stronger and more advanced than others."
Some were rejected outright – although many others were advised to consult the Free Schools charity, the New Schools Network, to help them draft an improved proposal. The statement added: "We have given individual feedback to all groups that were not approved because their proposal didn't meet the criteria for setting up a Free School."


(Some great comments have been appended to this by the newspaper's readership!)

Antithesis

The self-same day, Norman Perrin reported on his blog –

Michael Gove had this to say on Academies:
We have also created more than 400 new academies, tripling the number we inherited, creating more academies in twelve months than the last Government did in twelve years.
And I can confirm to the House [of Commons] today that we have now received over 1000 applications from schools wishing to become academies and more than 300 applications to set up free schools, many from great teachers like the inspirational head Patricia Sowter and the former Downing Street aide Peter Hyman.


I can never grasp the mindset of the politicians and bureaucrats who seek to control every aspect of education in this country to serve whatever cause it is that drives them.

I suspect that if I am looking for something like ideas, or reality, then it is naive and futile to try.

Synthesis

Why is this lying bastard lying to me?

This well-known question about the pronouncements of politicians is often attributed to Jeremy Paxman. It was in fact coined by Louis Heren, a former Deputy Editor of The Times:


Old Turkish proverb

A fish stinks from the head down.

Not anatomically correct (the guts stink first) but it does suggest a certain poetic truth.

Previous posting on 'free schools'

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Informed choice

Where are we now?
And more MM

Last week I remarked on my personal puzzlemement when faced with the very sort of informed choice that I have for years advocated for parents of disabled children. In my case the choice was raised by the Referendum on the UK's future voting system:


The results of the Referendum

  • In the event only fifty percent of eligible votors nationwide to took up the opportunity to vote on a matter that could be vital to the UK's future democratic process. Some of those who did not vote would have been indifferent, some might have been unable to understand the issues, some unable to decide, some angry for some other cause, and some thinking a curse on both your houses.
  • The result was not uniform across the country. Scotland had the highest turnout (just over 57%) and London the lowest (35%). This Midlands part of the realm, where I reside, fell a little short of 40%. There were political as well as demographic reasons for the variation.
  • The voting was rather higher than some had expected. The notion of 'high' is relative but, in any terms, a turnout of but a half suggests limited fervour for democratic choice on this question.
High or low, the results were 32.1% in favour of change and 67.9% to stay as we are. How very British.

This means that, on a simple two-way choice, with an approximately 50% turnout, just under 34 per cent of the total electorate – around a third – have determined that, when it comes to electing future Governmments of the United Kingdom, the voting system used shall continue with business as before and little liklihood of reopening this question in a forseeable future.

And as for Conductive Education...?

There is of course no suggestion here that there could or should be a democratic poll, plebiscite or referendum of relevant parents on whether Conductive Educatiuon should be provided for their children with motor disorders..

But what if there were? What might this show? The steam has certainly gone out of the national CE furore of twenty or so years ago. New generations of parents have arrived on the scene. How might they arrive at informed opinions on Conductive Education – indeed how might they hear of it at all?

There is no orgainised CE 'party' to press the cause. Misinformation and active dysinformation abound, however, whether passed on by fellow parents, by those who work in existing systems of provision, or on the Internet. How, how, how are young parents going to arive at an informed opinion, never mind make an an informed choice about something so life-determining? And if they do chose – on whatever basis – might half just not vote? And of those who do, might one third opt for change, and two thirds for more of the same?

I of course have no idea. But a whole generation of the conductive movement in the United Kingdom – and, I supect in similar countries too – has lived in the assumption that most parents would like a chance to decide for themselves how their children are educated and that, given such an opportunity, the majority would opt for Conductive Education. Well, maybe that was once so, maybe not – we shall probaly never know. But true of false there were certainly more than enough ardent enthisiasts about for it not to matter about winning over the don't-knows and the don't-cares – in which context Conductive Education as a whole has done very little to develop public-awarenes, public-relations and public-lobbying functions.

Given the now near unversal shortage of available finances, and the strong likllihood that we ain't seen nothing yet, Conductive Education is going to have to learn to compete for funds and for clients, in an ever tougher market, ready or not.

Meanwhile, in another part of the jungle

As part of the wider official agenda of central control of education services, England is to have 'free schools', an Orwelesque perversion of language if ever there was one! This will include 'free special schools' – or will it?

In Shefield, Norman Perrin and Paces have chosen to follow the freeschool route to creating a state-funded Conductive Education school. He reports something of the difficulties encountered on his blog, his most recent posting suggesting that this path may be long and that it is not just Conductive Education that finds it a rocky one:


Where if anywhere is this all going? I commented on Norman's blog –

Trying not to sound like Mystic Meg, I catch a glimpse of the future in which the 'free schools' are sorted, being simply establishments that follow government agendas to the letter but with some the costs provided by non-government agencies. Then through the mists then appear official concerns about the remaining independent special schools, those that have not bought in to the government whip, those that still remain un-free. What an administratively untidy raggle-taggle. What ought government to do with THEM...?

Such unquenchable paranoia!

More MMs

The previous posting here on Conductive World concluded with a comment on choice from Marilyn Monroe. This is one MM who needs no introduction, anywhere on the planet, Perhaps less universally recognised an icon is Mystic Meg, mentioned earlier in this posting:


She stands as the type of all who attempt to fortell the future in human affairs, a truly absurd exercise in the futile.

Mickey Mouse has not been forgotten, and will doubtless be returned to soon.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Informed choice...

What do I do?
What about parents?
And what did Marilyn Monroe say about all this?

I should be out voting.

Today the polls are open across the United Kingdom to vote upon what voting system we should use in future Parliamentary elections – well, at least to chose between the long-hallowed system that we have always used, 'first past the post', and just one of the umpteeen possible alternatives, AV or 'alternative vote'.

Every household in the country has received a comprehensive booklet explaining the implications of the two. Politicians and the media, trustworthy sources neither of them, have banged on about the respective virtues – and dangers. I am none the wiser. There are significant differences between the two, and how the country votes on this will determine the results of General Electios and the shape of governments for years to come.

I am interested in politics and have always been always concerned about 'the shape of government for years to come' but – relatively informed as I consider myself to be – I cannot work out how to chose.

Basically, I cannot decide what would be for the best, for me or my society. In real elections, where intellect fails, there are always candidates to personify the choice, and in the last resort 'tribal voting'. Here I am, though, stuck with a wholy intellectual choice – and my intellect is not up to it. Maybe, with nothing really to justify my choice, I shall imply abstain. I suspect that many will do just that, resulting in a ridiculously low turnout – making a choice that will determine the outcomes of possibly far higher turnouts in subsequent elections.

Nice one, HMG!

And what about Jo Parent?

If Jo Public is up a gum tree over this one, what about Jo Parent?

Years of involvement in helping advocate parents' rights have found me a strong advocate for informed parental choice in allocating, say, educational resources. Of the alternatives, bureaucratic choice (sometimes suger-wrapped as professional choice) has always truck me as the least preferable, most worst system.

My today's persnal dilemma is salutary. Am I any better or worse off in this situation than, say, parents of a disabled child offered the possibility of making an informed choice about their child's services, for which they will have to become critically informed in unfamiliar technical fields then, so informed, make a perhaps irrevocal intellectual choice on what to do what to decide 'for the best', for their child and for themselves?

I am not the only one to have spotted problems here. Peter Limbrick has his own long history of advocating parents' right to informed choice. Depending upon how things work out over the next few months, the Green Paper on Special Educational Needs might mean that disabled children in England will depend rather more upon their parents' choice, informed or otherwise, than has been the situation hitherto. Yesterday Peter wrote –

If a politician reassures you that there will be knowledgeable people on hand to support parents in their choices, please inform him or her that, by and large, there is no 'knowledge' in the field of early childhood intervention for disabled children. We do not have a body of science to refer to. The more complicated a child's condition, the more each child is a new mystery and the more we all must resort to trial and error, groping in the dark with little more than a 'suck it and see' strategy to offer new parents.
These problems do not come with the coalition government. In our traditional services there was always the danger of overloading some disabled infants and there has never been an effective early childhood intervention science. The question has to be, 'Will empowering parents to select and secure support for their child improve the situation?' Perhaps while we wait for an answer to emerge, the best we can achieve is to support parents as best we can (if they want us to) as they throw their dice or, eyes closed, stick their pin in the map.
For good or ill, radical changes are coming and, in part, the coalition government is creating a bigger space for changes that were already happening. Statutory services (health, education, social care) will soon cease to be at the core of support for children with disabilities and their families. They will cease to be the main providers or deciders of what children and families get. This will require a fundamental shift in how statutory service providers think and how they shape what they offer. There is very great danger that some new parents will be even more confused, even more lost and even less supported than they have been in recent decades. I see babies going down with the bathwater.

See his whole thoughtful piece at:


And what about Conductive Education in England...?
What indeed, at two levels?
  • Individuals conductors, centres where they work, and possible users of Conductive Education, may indeed find themselves in a situation where funding for services is more genuinely up for grabs than it is now, and where misunderstanding, misrepresentation and even downright lies may be bandied about with abandon to 'inform' parental choice. Clarity and consistency will be even more essential than now in informing what Conductive Education is and does – and isn't and doesn't. (This of course applies equally to all the other things on offer). One would like to hope that practical preparations for such a contingency are being made for this as I write...
  • At a higher level, this emophasises Conductive Education's opportunity, and problem, of offering something from a different – and more advanced – paradigm, not just choice between different versions of the same sort of thing but choice of something altogether different. Now's there's something to be bending the mind to in the new dispensation.
Still, I can't complain. 'Informed choice' is what so many have called for, so will be interesting to see what, if anything, transpires. Meanwhile, here's Marilyn Monroe with a cheery dittie on the subject:

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Conductive soap

On line

Extracted from Wikipedia

A soap opera, sometimes called "soap" for short, is an ongoing, episodic work of dramatic fiction presented in serial format... on television or radio... consumed by a predominantly female audience... The term soap opera has at times been generally applied to any romantic serial, but it is also used to describe the more naturalistic, unglamorous UK primetime drama serials... A crucial element that defines soap opera is the open-ended nature of the narrative, with stories spanning several episodes…
Soap opera stories run concurrently, intersect and lead into further developments. An individual episode of a soap opera will generally switch between several different concurrent story threads that may at times interconnect and affect one another or may run entirely independent of each other. Each episode may feature some of the show's current storylines but not always all of them…
Soap operas rarely bring all the current storylines to a conclusion at the same time. When one storyline ends there are several other story threads at differing stages of development....


Follow the growing CE blogosphere

Now from Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hungary, the United Kingdom and the United States – written in English, French, Portuguese (and occasionally a snatch in German or Hungarian).

Bringing it together:


On Facebook too

Largely in Hungarian:


Largely in English: