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!

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