Wednesday, 29 June 2011

From California to Mexico

Travellers for CE

The old State Institute in Budapest had always been open to foreigners in particular circumstances, but this was taken up only in small numbers and mainly from the 'fraternal republics' of the then Eastern Bloc. The Institute was not 'world famous', indeed hardly anyone had heard of it at all, or of what it did – and who in a right mind would take a disabled child 'behind the Iron Curtain', for some unheard-of and poorly described process?

But by the mid-eighties word was trickling out. A handful of British and Australians families went to budprst, to the about-to-be renamed Pető Institute . Then it happened. On 1 April 1986 the BBC broadcast Standing up for Joe, documenting the experience of one of these early British families – and the rest, as they say is history. British families took themselves en masse to Budapest, and as Joe was shown by other public-service broadcast companies, they were soon joined by families from Israel, Australia, New Zealand... The cat was at last out of the bag, though Germans did not arrive till the early nineteen-nineties, and Americans even later. Remember, there was no mass Internet as we know it today, and television (spread as much by pirated video tapes as by broadcast) was the vital medium for communicating this message – along with print media of course.

Ebb and flow

The first wave in the process of internationalising CE, the first tidal flow, was for parents to travel, perhaps uprooting themselves and settling permanently in a new country, as the only way in which they and their children might experience Conductive Education. For most people this was just a temporary wave for, by the turn of the century, the tide was turning, drawing out conductors to work where families actually live.

But the sheer numbers of those who might benefit have meant that the traelling tradition has persisted as a commonplace of the CE phenomenon around the world. New places of pilgrimage have arisen and (albeit smaller) tidal flows established. People have travelled to NICE in Birmingham from across the world, Australians have gone to New Zealand (and the UK), Americans have gone to Canada, Russians to Budapest, families of Third World elites to the best places that their money can buy (as for all their treatment needs).

Some of these travellers have returned home and for various reasons let Conductive Education go. Others have built upon their initial experience to 'set something up for themselves'. Families who have taken their children abroad for CE have taken leading roles in establishing new CE centres around the world, for their own children and for other people's too. Others still of course take no heed of historical trend and take their children to the original places of pilgrimage. One still routinely reads in the British press stories of families desperately raising large sums of money to go to the Pető Institute in Budapest, when they could achieve a less expensive and certainly more convenient service 'down the road'. In many cases they and their children (and those who fund them) might be better served by the local option.

A Mexican wave, in the age of the Blogger?

Just commenced on the Internet is a new blog, recounting the experiences of an American family taking their child to Mexico:

 
The largest economy in the word, with the most highly sophisticated special-education and rehabilitation technologies, in the height of the recession – and impoverished, crime-ridden and much reviled Mexico. No stranger than comparisons made when people went off 'behind the Iron Curtain' twenty-odd years ago. In this as in otherrespect Conductive Education continues to cut across usual comparisons and terms of reference, and defy conventional thinking.

(It can continue to do so for as long as what families experience something extraparadigmatic for their pains, an altogether different way of viewing and responding to disability, something outside back-home conventional ways and outcomes. Remember that as the tide tries to take a new turn, and CE tries to move on from just setting up in a new country to adapting and nativising there.)

The Revel Family from California are experienced bloggers. They had their first taste of CE in travelling to Ability Camp in Canada. They have been in Mexico now since Saturday and are on their third blog posting rom there already.

It will be interesting to watch this unfold – and to look out for whether other CE-hungry families turn their attention to centres in Mexico, or Brazil.

Notes and references

The blog in question: Familia Revel

Books offering some previous documentation by travelling families:

Internationalising Conductive Education
Includes chapter on first bringing CE to Mexico

Intelligent Love
Covers different stages in the tidal flow – and a chapter on Brazil

Fundaciòn P.E.T.O. is a new service in Mexico:
'P.E.T.O' = Programa Educativo de Trabajo Orthofuncional
('Educative Program of Orthofunctional Work')

Con Nos Ostros:
The original Mexican service

Chewing the same old cud – another self-styled 'conference'

More global-warming gases but what other output?

Spotted on the Internet:
Special Educational Needs (SEN) Conference
Monday, 11 July 2011

Benefits of Attending
  • Hear the latest information from the Government on the strategic context of the SEN Green Paper
  • Overcome funding challenges for children with SEN and their families
  • Examine the recent updates of Ofsted's review on SEN provision
  • Benefit from case study examples of effective collaboration with health and social care services
  • Learn how you can enhance relationships with parents to improve the learning outcomes for children
  • Understand how to support the transition for students with SEN as they move beyond school
  • Consider how you can improve teacher training and develop the skills and confidence of all SEN staff
  • Discover how SEN provision will work in academies and free schools.

The very webpage screams out 'soulless', 'uninsprired', 'deadening'.

Another unnecessary, pricey conference at a needlessly flash London West End venue. All to what end? Who will 'confer'. What will progress? How will children, parents, schools, actually benefit? Who might gain then? Such naïve, daft questions!

The conference is organised by Capita Conferences ('Leading the way in public sector conferences'). Its media partner [sic] in this venture is SEN ('the UK's leading magazine for special educational needs'). The latter of these two claims to leadership I shall check with little trouble, as there is a form for ordering a free sample copy.

The British state continues its centralist, dirigiste fantasy that it knows how to run special-eduction and rehabilitation, and that private companies have relevant skills to bring to this task.

Trebles all round.


We are all getting older

We might all want a conductor one day
Millions and millions of us

Andria Spindel, President of March of Dimes Canada writes on her blog today about the Festival of International Conferences on Caregiving, Disability, Aging and Technology, that was held in Toronto from 5 to 8 June.

Today, with modern health care, miracles of medicine and science, and rehabilitation, family support, and healthy lifestyles, people are growing old with a disability, while in our aging population there is a growing segment that is aging into a different kind of disability. Oddly, the treatment and support of older people has been through a parallel system to that of people with disabilities. I believe that is because the people we helped 20 or 30 years ago in the disability sector were young, and were opposed to being lumped in with older people and the frailty of age was not considered a disability. So, two social services, health care, housing, transportation and legal/advocacy streams of knowledge and interventions developed.

Conductive Education grew from its roots and developed in an earlier time, when disabled people were not expected to live long, and nor were most older people! Perhaps it is time for CE's practices, its undertandings and its place in the world to evolve to match the new biological, social and personal realities of the world that we now live in.

This is a growth sector. There were some eleven-hundred people at that recent Toronto bash. Andria
reports –

People from 42 countries were present, many presenting in one or more of the six concurrent conferences, and post-conference symposium, or exhibiting at one of 93 booths which were packed with information. Many presentations were via poster, many in plenary or panel, and some in workshops. This cornucopia of expert knowledge was actively being transferred to practitioners, policy makers, consumers and advocates for seniors and people with disabilities.

I don't bet but, were I to, then I should wager that no one there mentioned Conductive Education.

Change creeps in
Here and there, not programatically

As in many aspects of conductive practice, developments are probably happening, undescribed, unsung, and generally unknown of, even to each other. Perhaps those who undertake such initiatives might feel unsure of the legitimacy of adapting their understandings and pedagogy, deriving by the large from work with children and relatively young adults, to older people. That is, not just older people who have had strokes or have Parkinsons', or who have cerebral palsy and lived on into a ripe old age, but also older people who do not have 'movement disorders' at all, they are not disabled, 'just old', becoming more frail, losing confidence and self-esteem, failing to adapt old-established skills, relinquishing independence.

'Where might I find a job in future years? ' I hear conductors ask. Don't ask, look around, and take a chance.

For one conductor's perspectives on working like this, see Lisa Gombinsky's emerging reports on her experiences and her clients in the Enable Me project in New South Wales:


Lisa hails originally from Toronto.

Blogs cited

Gombinsky, L. (2011) Conductive Magic, The Phys.Ed. Studio, and Me

Spindel, A. (2011) President's blog

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

EN FRANCE

A long stalemate

I still from time get asked 'Why has Conductive Education done so little in France?'

One answer is that a high-level, official fact-finding mission to the Pető Institute was not impressed by what it saw there, nor by what it was told It noted favourably the 'great methodological coherence of the Pető practice' but found little else to praise, and raised openly concerns that have been expressed privately by others over the years but not usually so forcefully, in print –
...one sees reappear in modern garb, with the pseudo-justification by the neuro-sciences and in the name of a pseudo-normality... an absence of scientific guarantees and dialogues with other professionals concerned, and finally an over-active commercial policy of world conquest...
For a summary of the report in English, see:


It is not that French parents had not been interested, indeed French parents had sparked this investigative mission. And French parents are still interested, as is testified by the small-scale local initiatives in France. But this report is 'official', in a way that would not be possible in the Anglo-Saxon lands, and it lies publicly on the file.

Zut alors!

References

This is an short English-language overview of the report on line:

Sutton. A. (2003) Official French report rejects Peto Institute, Conductive Chronicle,  1999 
http://web.archive.org/web/20020811224339/http://www.conductive-education.org.uk/html/news/frenchrep.html#3

The full original report is not freely available on line  only the cover of the journal issue in which it was published.
http://laboutique.inshea.fr/site/Nras/bdcnras/pubnras5.pdf

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Multiple sclerosis

In a puzzling world



One of my conductor correspondents faces a tricky problem, one that I know many conductors have shared in a whole variety of contexts (and not just conductors, of course). How can she speak out for a cause that she believes to be of great human benefit, without harming her career? The particular focus of her present concern is CCSVI – chronic cerebropinal venous insufficiency – and a surgical intervention to relieve this for people with multiples sclerosis. She writes –


MS patients think that neurologists do not allow it in many countries because they won't make the money they earn now from medicines and steroids, that MS patients take every day for many years before dying. CCSVI shows a lot more development in their condition than medicines and it is a routine intervention, with far fewer side-effects medicines have.Still, neurologist won't allow this in many countries, including Hungary. I find it outrageous, to be honest, but we conductors have to cooperate with neurologists and perhaps it is not lucky if I express this opinion before hedging my career.


I am no rehabilitionist and have only the most glancing personal experience of MS. I have therefore no grounds for any opinion at all about this specific treatment, but as an ordinary citizen I have views on some of the issues that this matters raises.

We are up against the question of' evidence here. For CCSVI it is early days and evidence remains equivocal (as in the case of Conductive Education).  The MS Society of the UK, however, offers an open-minded view of how seriously CSVI is now being considered around the world (rather more so than in the case of Conductive Eduction):



So where does this leave the punter, somebody whose life is being overturned by this condition and is most reasonably trying to find out what might be done to make things better. How to decide what to do? How to chose between options? Whose opinion and advice to follow? Let us not be deceived into believing that there can ever be universal black-and white guidelines for people who have to make such choices.

If it were me in that position I would be very keen to avoid wasting my hope and my money taking snake oil, and that any treatment that I might follow should have demonstrable value. And I should be very aware of my own vulnerability to the attractions of charlatans, be they well-meaning or cynical. I would also think of the endemic fraud that besets medical research, of some of the methodological issues  involved in 'trials', and of the fundamental question that any invividual must have about the nomothetic vs  he ideographic: what about me? I might even have to think of the cost. But all such matters taken into consideration, I might still not know how to decide.

Inevitably I would want to know what others in a similar position have experienced – and let nobody dare then speak condescendingly to me about 'anecdotal evidence'. Among other things this is potentially to disparage my own experience of my own life should I wish to share it.  I should strike back vigorously at such impudence and would not be a patient patient. No doubt I should probably come across others just as forceful in their own peculiar ways and about their own particular concerns. I hope that I should have the courage and the energy to make common cause.


Somewhere along the line, for better of for worse, I should have to make up my mind, on whatever basis I can. The same, I guess, goes for many rehabitationists, with respect to whatever condition they are involved with or whatever intervention that are considering. Make your choice, act on it, and be prepared to modify your position on the basis of practical experience (a principled flexibility that should be well familiar to people in Conductive Education). And band together in common cause.


Meanwhile in its own specific sphere, the CCSVI Alliance offers much of the sort of information that I would like if I should need it – others please note:


Networking


My correspondent recalls hearing no mention of CCSVI during her own (recent) conductor-training in Budapest, What, she wonders, happens in other counties? Have conductors working ourtside Hungary had experience of CCSVI through their clients? What can they tell of its apparent results, advantages, disadvantages, before-and-after symptoms, etc? I am pleased to relay her request for information,


Meanwhile, she tells me, Hungarians with MS feel free to speak out. She points me to a couple of sites that are frankly beyond me linguistically, though many who read these pages will have no such problem:

http://ccsvi.blog.hu/2011/06/10/tudomany_es_uzlet

A soul in the machine

Of course, glaringly obvious examples aside, deciding how to chose for the best, this intervention or that, either as citizen or rehabilitationalist, admits to no exact answers. There has to be art as well as science in such decision-making, a human 'judgement call' rather than mere box-ticking that a machine could do.  One has to to work on one's judgement.  I suspect that the machine will resist this.

I would typify my correspondent's problem as that of a soul caught in a machine. She is right that fighting against it may bring nothing but pain to herself while achieving little for the benefit of those whom she would serve.

I think of butterflies and wheels, suggesting that I may be the last person to advise what best to do to achieve change.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

SEN: stuck in a rut

Cut the Gordian knot
Norman Perrin has made an interesting posting on his Paces blog in which he relays salient points made last week (8 June) by Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt, in submitting a Private Memeber's Bill 'to require the Secretary of State to increase parental involvement in provision of education for children with special educational needs'.
(Norman makes the aside that Ms Mordant's Bill has been seconded by David Blinket (a former Labour Secretary of State for Education), though what to make of this I have no idea.)
I scribbled a quick Comment on Norman's blog, in which (typos corrected) I wrote –



The problem with the Green Paper is not that it doesn't go far enough but that it is not leading anywhere. Instead it is well and truely stuck, crushed and wriggling, within the current paradigm, and neither government nor its critics have any mechanism whereby they can break out. Apologies for harping on about an old notion of mine, but the UK (yes, the whole country, not the Balkanised Blairite mare's nest that we have now!) will get nowhere on this matter without a thorough-going, root-and-branch Royal Commission. Example:

I know that this time round I can whistle for that. I do still wonder, though, how long it will take for the country to realise that the current fussing around 'special educational needs' comes up with no fundamental change, and that the voters are being taken for a ride, with the country, its children and their families not being moved one inch out of the SEN mire.
This is what I had written in February of this year –
A Royal Commission
If one accepts that there can be no quick fix, then there is no need to rush. So here's a solution that politicians might like, since it shows that they have done something concrete but it leaves their options open. In the meantime, others must take up the burden of critical examination of what has gone wrong, winnowing down the hard specifics of what is proposed in response into new generalisable, operationalisable notions more readily managed by the normal political processes.

This approach does not of course involve just the evidence and interests of those implicated in present arrangements and approaches, but those of all citizens who want to contribute to the process. A Royal Commission is no informal discussion like the Conservatives' present Commission on Special Educational Needs. It is not a cheery, consensual group drawn from existing professional establishments, like Mary Warnock's Committee of Enquiry. It is not an assemblage of the usual suspects. A full-blown Royal Commission potentially brings to bear the power and the intellectual force, the independence, that those 'most vulnerable in society' require on their social case if their problems are even to be properly understood, never mind have anything effective done for them.

A sledgehammer to crack a nut? No. There is precedent, albeit a long time ago now, when services for such children were first emerging as priorities in this county and in other advanced economies around the world. Yes, it was more than a century ago now, but social mechanisms and structures set in train in those days have now largely run their course. It is high time to start anew. Given the likelihood of the United Kingdom's having a Prime Minister who has had himself the indelible experience of parenting a disabled child, there is perhaps opportunity too. If not now, when?

Oh well, that moment has passed. But next time round, how might a Royal Commission differ in its processes, and probably therefore its findings and recommendations, from what is being done now – the Green Paper providing just one example?

By not being so cosy. Would it not be nice to 'defeat the protective systems... etc? See below

By way of an Appendix


Back in January 2010 I had I added a brief note to that posting, to explain something of the nature of Royal Commissions –


In Commonwealth realms a Royal Commission is a major government public enquiry into an issue... A Royal Commissioner has considerable powers, generally greater even than those of a judge but restricted to the 'Terms of Reference of the Commission.... Royal Commissions are called to look into matters of great importance and usually controversy. These can be matters such as government structure, the treatment of minorities, events of considerable public concern or economic questions... using the very broad coercive powers of the Royal Commissioner to defeat the protective systems that powerful, but corrupt, public officials had used to shield themselves from conventional investigation. Royal Commissions are usually chaired by one or more notable figures. Because of their quasi-judicial powers the Commissioners are often retired senior judges.


I was referrin6 to the following:
  • 1885   Royal Commission on the Blind, Deaf and Dumb set up
  • 1889   Report of the Royal Commission on Blind, Deaf, Dumb and others
  • 1904   Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Feeble-Minded
  • 1908   Report of the Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Feeble-Minded


References


Perrin N. (2011) SEN Green paper doesn't go far enough: MP, Paces, 18 June
http://paces.typepad.com/paces/2011/06/sen-green-paper-doesnt-go-far-enough-mp-sengp.html


Sutton, A. (2011) SEN – time for political decision: but, please, a measured one. The future of SEN – VI. Conductive World, 8 June
http://www.conductive-world.info/2010/02/sen-time-for-politics.html 

Friday, 17 June 2011

Well, I'm bloggered

No comment

I have been frustrated over the last few days by the impossibilty of posting a comment on Conductive World. This applies equally whether the Comment is submitted by a reader or by myself.

Now I see that Judit Szathmáry has the same problem:


I spot-checked by trying to comment on one of Susie Mallet's postings. Same thing, no Comment appears:


At least, I thought momentarily, if the problem is general rather than specific to myself, this increases the chanced of its being soon fixed. But when? A check on the Blogger site finds the following message:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
We're investigating an issue which is preventing login and comment posting for some users, and hope to have a fix released shortly.

Note the date. Some 'shortly'!

Other CE-bloggers using Blogger technology might like to check whether their own Comment facility is working.

Not good enough, but what's to do?

One that nearly got away

I was alerted to this problem a few days ago through an email from Norman Perrin. He had wanted to to comment upon my posting on that Western Australian business:


This had quoted him on how 'evidence' argues to suit those who quote it. 'Ofsted', by the way, is England's school-inspection system. Norman wrote –

Apparently Ofsted share my doubts. "Some 45 per cent of schools inspected by Ofsted in the last eight months were ranked no better than "satisfactory", it was disclosed. More than one-in-20 primary or secondary schools were declared inadequate – the watchdog's lowest possible rating.
Or maybe not? Apparently Ofsted say that these appalling results were "skewed" ... "by a new hard-line inspection regime – implemented for the first time in 2009 – which ... places a greater emphasis on classroom teaching and pupils' results."
How interesting that Ofsted (or anyone) would regard an inspection regime that focuses on teaching and learning as "hard-line". One can only wonder, along as I suppose would Liz Constable, the Minister of Education for Western Australia, why we continue to fund them.

If you this difficulty in commenting, then do please send your comment to me direct for posting, as Norman Perrin has done. The email address is:


Your Comment will then be posed as here. Judit has already shown the way.

As for my test Comment on Susie's blog I tried to post on her mention of the Comenius meeting last week in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, on 'Cooperation between parents and experts':


I tried to comment –

Will there be a report published on this meeting, do you know? There are a lot of such meetings going on at the moment. All that disussion at such a cost: it would be a pity if more people could not benefit.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

POLITICKING IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA

New readers start here

Events in Western Australia have been moving fast. Follow them on Conductive World's Facebook page:


This has the advantages of (nearly) real-time reporting but is not good for catch-up and analysis.

The story so far

Western Australia has take pole position for CE in Australia in recent years but, hardly surprising in these tough times, the way has not been smooth, with sustainable reliable funding being an especial problem. One of the services presently available in WA has been the preschool programme at Carson Street School in Perth, the success and vulnerability of which relate to a government grant of Aus$200,000 a year to the Conductive Education Centre of WA. the charity providing this.

Liz Constable, the Minister of Education for Western Australia, acting upon the recommendation of an as-yet-unread report by officials, announced that this grant will cease, then took a half-step back –
The school has received a letter saying that the $200,000 in government funding would be withdrawn from next year. Under pressure from the Opposition in Parliament today, Dr Constable says she will review a report about the program before she rules on the department's decision.
'I've only received the report today, clearly I haven't read the report and I received a recommendation from the Director General which I'm considering,' she said.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/14/3243748.htm
Immediate parental action has included public demonstration and involvement of opposition MPs. Yesterday, Alistair Jobling, Vice-President of the Conductive Education Centre of WA led a contingent of parents, children and staff from the centre to the steps of Parliament House. Lucy Rickard reports –
A report issued by the Department's acting deputy director general David Axworthy, which was only given to Education Minister Liz Constable this morning, has recommended the program be done away with.
Dr Constable said the "highly experimental" program was not proven to be effective, but said she would be willing to visit the centre and meet with parents before making the final call.
'It has been evaluated, and that evaluation does not really support conductive education,' she said.
'It does not support the anecdotal evidence from parents... there is no evidence to suggest that this is a program worthy of our continued financial support.'
The Education Department made a three-year commitment to the centre in 2006, funding an early life intervention pilot program for disabled pre-kindergarten students. It requires annual funding from the state government of about $220,000.
According to Mr Jobling, the department launched an investigation into the centre's viability nine months ago, the results of which are still not public.
He said that given the report has not been released, he was mystified as to why the program has been cancelled given all feedback to date had been positive.
http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/parents-children-appeal-to-education-minister-for-their-funding-back-20110614-1g1df.html
http://www.optuszoo.com.au/news/breaking/wa-today/parents-children-appeal-to-education-minister-for-their-funding-back/381138
The plot thickens. There is more. As Lucy Rickard went on to report: there had been another research report, three years ago –

Associate Professor Heather Jenkins from Curtin University spent 10 months independently evaluating the education centre, and said that with a growing waiting list, the state government simply could not afford to cut the program.
She noted in her evaluation that students attending the centre had 'in gross motor skills and functional mobility ... improved communication ... decreased dependence on caregiver support and great independence'.
'It is unrealistic to expect families or [the school] to fund the continuation of this program beyond 2012 from their own pocket,' Associate Professor Jenkins said.
'Families and the school can't be expected to fund pre-school programs from the funds provided for school-aged kids.'
http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/parents-children-appeal-to-education-minister-for-their-funding-back-20110614-1g1df.html
On Facebook

These goings-on down under have generated a couple of discussion threads on Conductive World's Facebook page:


For example, concerning the earlier research report, Natalie Fitzpatrick writes –
That was from an independent researcher. We received 3 years of funding from the Dept of Educ, they said that continued funding would depend on their own research which we are waiting to see. :)
Norman Perrin points out CE's ever-besetting research-problem of sauce for the goose –
What always fascinates me about these "does-it-doesn't-it-work" evidential reports is that the same rigour is rarely applied to mainstream schools...
I myself cautioned –
Better watch out Dr Constable You should know how vicious Australian politics can be. You probably do not know what happened in Canberra .Best to take the easy way (which is not going to be easy) and publish your report NOW.
I was referring to the bitter and destructive row over an earlier official report on CE in Australia, fifteen years ago. Most instructive.

This was before the Internet age. I was personally involved, as was Mária Hári, but my extensive paper files on this are not at the moment readily available to me. Gary Prigg and Claire Cotter who let the successful fight against what was being swung on CE can doubtless inform. And of course one can always trawl back through Hansard for the Parliament of Australia, and the Internet archives of the Australian press. Here's what a quick check find:

http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;page=0;query=%22conductive%20education%22;rec=14;resCount=Default

http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;page=0;query=%22conductive%20education%22;rec=13;resCount=Default

http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;page=0;query=%22conductive%20education%22;rec=12;resCount=Default
Very nasty that all was. You can almost feel them squirming. At least in one respect the discussion has moved on since then, from health to education, so some progress has been made at least, but talk is still on unquestioned research confounded by official  stonewalling.

Meanwhile, look out on Facebook for further updates on the current struggle

Secrets

What is with all this secrecy anyway? And what about Dr Jenkins' report from three years ago? Reporting this at the time, Conductive World commented –


Evidence-based grant

Last year the school received an official grant of A$200,000 over three years to promote and develop Conductive Education in the early years, a program described as ‘applying the principles of Conductive Education’. It will be interesting to see sometime what these are and how they are applied. Such a grant apparently is not usual in Western Australia, having been made following publication of the ‘strong evidence-based recommendations’ of a study by Heather Jenkins of the Curtin University of technology that recommended that ‘the program of Conductive Education is continued for children with motor disabilities’.

Many people around the world would be very interested to know how to collect the sort of ‘evidence base’ strong enough lead to a A$200,000 grant so that they might arrange for their own. The report is unpublished: for further information, contact the author direct at h.jenkins@curtin.edu.au 
Did anyone ever write? Has that report ever been published? It might not only have contributed usefully to the wider world of Conductive Education but even help avoid or at least ease the present situation in WA. What is it about Conduction Education that fosters this climate of secrecy, such that it is almost expected that things are kept out of the public domain, whatever the long-term cost?

Dr Elizabeth Constable

Elizabeth Constable, the Minister of Education for Western Australia, is a former schoolteacher who took a PhD and has helped train educational psychologists. The subject of her PhD thesis was gifted children and it may not have been lost to the attention of people in Western Australia that their big Gifted and Talented program continues to expand:


Geese and ganders?

References

(2011) Funding for severely disabled children reconsidered, ABC News, 14 June

Carpenter, L. (2011) Gifted and talented program offered in country WA for the first time, 1 April

Rickard, L. (2011) Parents, children appeal to Education Minister for their funding back, WA Today, 14 June

Sutton, A. (2008) Expansion in Western Australia, Conductive World, 20 August

Intelligent love, tough love

Rediscovered, again, for a new age

Mária Hári called it 'intelligent love'.

The Belgian school of Conductive Education (Yves Bawin and colleagues at La Famille in Brusselles) comes to it through the psychoanalytic prism of Françoise Dalto.

One does not hear such matters discussed much in Anglo-Saxon education, or in English-speaking Conductive Education (due apology to noble exceptions).

Restorative practices

But maybe they are being aired, and quite widely too. I was alerted to this yesterday by an article by Ted Wachtel in the Baltimore Sun:


Yes, they have been managerialised up, and rather reduced to 'a program'. But the fundamental truths are there. I myself have no appetite for the way in which they are stated, but if this clicks with a younger generation – and their masters – then so be it. Perhaps people trying to 'sell' Conductive Education, especially perhaps to school administrators in the United States, might do better by following this line rather than tired old out-of-tune explanations that are so patently just not delivering the goods.

Especially, conductivists would be better advised exploring commonalities and seeking alliances with relevant educationalists than with neurobabblers.

Here meanwhile a useful lead into exploring resorative practices further, the International Institute of Restorative Practices:


I see that there are branches in Canada and the United Kingdom. There may be others.

Good luck.

References

Graham, J., McGuigan, C., Maguire, G. (eds) (2010) Intelligent Love. Parents' action for Conductive Education

Sutton, A. (2010) What does 'upbringing' mean? What does 'upbringing' mean? Where can I look it up? Conductive World, 31 January

Wachtel , T. (2011) Reviving tough love in tough schools. 'Restorative practices' have made a difference for low-income students in Baltimore and around the world, Baltimore Sun, 14 June

Wachtel, T., Paul McCold, P. (2004) What is Restorative Practices? Adapted from a paper paper presented at the IIRP’s 5th International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, August, 2004, Vancouver