Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Who wrote this? Was it me?

Be careful how you quote

I have just found this, posted from London (UK) in 1997 on a Parkinson's Listserve based at the University of Toronto. There was no source quoted but I think I think that I wrote it. Well, most of it. There is an interpolated paragraph that is not mine – and I have always written 'András' rather than 'Andreas' and am not too sure about that 'Professor' either!. As for the rest, they look terribly familiar...

Conductive Education was developed by Professor Andreas Peto in Budapest after the Second World War. It has been known about in professional circles in the West since the early 1960s, but serious and extensive international interest began only a few years ago.
Conductive Education is not a treatment, and offers no cure. It is a highly developed system of special education directed at teaching people with motor disorders how to function independently. Motor disorders are problems of controlling bodily movements, due to certain conditions of the brain or spine, including in childhood cerebral palsy and spina bifida, and in adulthood Parkinson's Disease, multiple sclerosis and strokes.
[Interpolated paragraph here]
As a system of education (rather than exercise or training) Conductive Education aims to transform the personality as a whole, its emotional as well as cognitive aspects, rather than simply teach motor skills and functions.
The enormous attraction of Conductive Education lies in its apparent results. Visitors to Budapest over the last 20 years have remarked thatmotor-disordered children and adults there do not just function better than might be expected, but also seem different personalities – happier, more satisfied and self-assured, less handicapped.
They are learning and problem-solving independently. In quantitative terms, records indicate that around two thirds to three quarters of children who have undertaken a full-time course at the Peto Institute in Budapest go into the school system at a level appropriate to their mental potential, without the need for aids, adaptations, class-room assistants etc.
[There is also a short final paragraph that I am not altogether sure is mine]

Do feel free to quote...

By all means cut and paste, lift, quote and adapt but, whatever your source, do please state where you found the different passages that you use – not just for the sake and modest blushes of origional authors but also ultimately for the healthy development of Conductive Education – and even your own benefit too.

Where did this passage come from. A quick search suggests that it exists in full nowhere else on the Internet (though disconnected phrases and sentences blow around there like the autumn leaves) so presumably this is from a paper text written quite a long time ago. But what, and written for what purpose? Looking at the text it looks like it was written with children in mind, not adults with Parkinson's.

And not even in 1997, I hope, would I have still been using the tired old jargon of 'problem-solving', and surely certainly no longer perpetrating those dodgy statistics!

The relevance of things written may be situation-specific – and both facts and opinions may cahange over the years – all good reason to site your sources (as well as citing them!) in place and time.

By the way, I wholly accept that this passage was quoted in good will, with the best intentions to explain and inform. If these words were indeed mine then I am pleased and complimented to have been trusted to help. This situation is in no way analogous to the plagiarism of students, pofessionals and academics that Conductive World has railed against over the past couple of years, which is an attempt to pass off the work of others as one's own, for whatever purpose. 

Plagiarists apart, you are most welcome to keep on using my words, and the words of others presumably, but do heed my cautions about doing so. 

This is the interpolated passage:

Conductive Education is generally given in small classes, with a trained leader or "conductor". A typical class begins with relaxation and stretching exercises for arms, legs and trunk, but continues with an variety of cross-correlated exercises - such as (while lying on your back) touching your left shoulder with your right hand and placing your left heel on your right knee at the same time, then swapping sides. All these exercises are performed while singing a tuneful and rhythmic "one, two, one, two..." in unison, at a tempo of about 80-90 beats per minute. There are also exercises in fine hand movements, such as having one hand clenched in a fist and the other splayed out - then progressively opening each finger on one hand while folding each finger in turn on the other. These cross-correlated exercises are particularly important - and many are actually quite difficult even for able-bodied and able-brained adults to perform. A class might last about 2 hours, and it is recommended that patients attend several each week.

I do not know where this came from either, and make no comment.

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