Saturday, 31 March 2012

TOO OBSCURE?

Or something else?

Yesterday saw a posting on Conductive World commenting upon a publication earlier that day of a presentation published on the always interesting blog of the parents' group at Centre La Famille in Brussels:


I was aware that the content of this might be if little interest to most English-speakers in Conductive Education, even sufficiently for them to run the Belgian parents' piece through a translating machine. An English-speaking correspondent did ask me whether I should be publishing an English translation but honestly I just do not have time even to consider this. 

 also received a note from Belgium –

...I am a bit puzzled, I have to admit I don't understand it because my level of English and the expressions that I am not familiar with. I am not sure you totally hate our testimonial or like it. I don't know what is Gallic thinking... and I am not sure about the last sentence either.

Any clarification would be appreciated. At our end, a second post on the same topic but a bit more practical is on its way.

Mea culpa

In response I apologised for the obscurity of my English.  The point is well take. I repeat and amplify what I wrote here for a more public audience –

I have too admit that my English can tend to be a little obscure. Many English readers of what I write may alsohave little idea what I am talking about!

Readers should be assured, however, of my enormous appreciation of the power of the intellectual tradition to which Conductive Education is being accommodated in Brussels and elsewhere in the French-speaking (la Francophonie, as they call it), and of the continuation of my my long-standing good intention to make others aware of this too (witness umpteen postings on Conductive World).

I LOVED the piece

The British (especially perhaps les Anglais) have total, unspoken respect for Gallic ways of thinking, even though we usually approach them with defensive caution! I use the word 'Gallic' here, to include French, Belgians, and Jean Piaget). Perhaps Gallic is the wrong word. Correct me if there is a better one. Our problem is that we often fail to understand these ways of thinking. Prime example of this for many has been the Anglophone confusion surrounded the work of Jean Piaget.  Of particular relevance here is the failure of the world of Conductive Education to consider the understandings exercised at La Famille in Belgium.

The insights into Conductive Education that I have picked up from Yves Bawin and Marie Louise Leclerc over the years have thrown a new light upon conductive pedagogy and indeed upon the very nature of 'cerebral palsy' (an unquestioned Anglophone construct if ever there were one!). I have tried to write about this but nobody in the Anglophonie has shown  interest. Years ago, when I was a psychologist, I tried to attract attention to Henri Wallon's understanding of human mental-social-motoric-emotional development. Again no response.

I remain a child of my own Anglo-Saxon intellectual heritage, empiricist and eclectic – but with the willingness to try to see the world through other philosophical windows. For the light that doing this this throws into the shadows of my own vision. There are so many interesting windows throgh which to bview it, some afforing a perhaps clearer view than others...

And Anglophonie is the poorer for more people's not trying this. And that goes for many people in Conductive Education too. Simply ignoring the fact that such differences exist does not make them go away.

Europe, Schmeurope

My concluding sentence yesterday read –

Europe, Schmeurope. Especially if Francophone positions are not accommodated and accounted.

It is not just Anglophones who ignore profound cultural differences in philosophical understandings of the world.

My gnomic exclamation 'Europe, Schmeurope' referred to a tendency to view Conductive Education (in Europe at least) as if this somehow absolves one from the need to consider the force of differing cultural and philosophical factors. A small, vocal and energetic group, for example, is currently advocating that there should be Europe-wide definitions, standards, practices within Conductive Education. 'Europe, Schmeurope!'

This Yiddish verbal formation gently expresses my view of the validity and ultimate futility of culturally funnelled approaches to understanding and implementing conductive pedagogy and upbringing.

Not least, in this specific context ,if Francophone positions are not thoroughly examined, accommodated and accounted.

Friday, 30 March 2012

FRENCH-SPEAKERS' STRONG TRADITIONS

Alien to Anglophones and Germanophones
(And to some of the other phones too)

I have just read the latest posting from the blog of the parents' group at La Famille in Brussels. I can just about hold on tight and not fall off the argument as I follow it. Almost.

Their position involves the inter-knitting mutually reacting relationship of movement and communication (verbal and non-verbal), and emotional being, within the nexus of developing family relationships.

Very Gallic thinking. I thought at once of Henri Wallon (struggling with whose work I often lost my theoretical grip altogether and fell right off).

Europe, Schmeurope. Especially if Francophone positions are not accommodated and accounted.

Reference

(2012) Communication et développement au sein de la pédagogie conductive, Les Parents et la Pédagogie Conductive, 13 March

Thursday, 29 March 2012

PROFESSIONAL BODIES FOR CONDUCTORS

A rapid first response to awakened interest in Australia

Some conductors and others in Australia are currently exercised by the notion of a professional body.

The following very brief notes come from recollections of a previous detailed enquiry into this matter. That enquiry focussed upon the situation in the UK but probably generalises to many other count6ries with a tradition in the English Common Law. Europe is something else.

National

The nature and requirements for professional bodies are not absolute.
  • They will vary from country to country according to local law and circumstances. – and the what happens in one country will not necessarily be applicable to another.
  • Professional bodies therefore operate within particular jurisdictions – they cannot function internationally.
  • Within a given country the nature and authority of professional bodies will vary according to status and other factors.
  • Thus the scope and formal requirements of a professional body for lawyers or doctors will differ considerably from what a might be expected for schoolteachers or therapists.
  • A vital point of definition is the degree of professional self-regulation
Governance
  • A professional body has to be a legal entity – if it is not then it does not exist as far relationships with its outside world are concerned (negotiating, lobbying, representing etc.) – this makes it qualitatively different from a mere informal association or society
  • This legal entity should have a publicly available registered address – for both legal and practical purposes
  • It will have a formally adopted constitution (in drawing up which it ought to consult an appropriate lawyer – this Constitution to be subject to the informed agreement of its membership
  • Officials should be elected by and answerable to the membership, and accounts should be audited and publicly reported – all reported at an Annual General Meeting
  • Etc., etc... dull, administrative stuff – but get this wrong and it could prove very hard to put it right
Formal membership
  • There should be sharp, justifiable criteria for the body's membership (including possible grades of membership) – to be precisely defined within the body's Constitution
  • The body should maintain a Register of its subscribed members – and make clear the purpose of this register and its accessibility
  • The body may define rules for its members' work activity – noting that the nature of such rules may vary, for example a code of ethics is not the same as a code of conduct
  • The body should define its role in 'policing' its membership and formalise the mechanisms whereby this might be exercised – in other word, establish a disciplinary mechanism, for complaints, hearings, penalties, appeals etc.
  • Etc. etc...
Activities
  • The body's Constitution should identify what activities it intends to undertake, so that outsiders have some understanding of what sort of organisation they are sealing with – including of course the possibility of 'such other activities as are lawful' that may be formally agreed from time to time
  • These might include matters like representation, insurance etc., and raise in turn the body's own liabilities in such situations
  • The body may have to create and manage structures for maintaining/extending professional competence
  • Etc, etc...
Etc. etc...

Professional bodies take a lot of work to set up before they can start achieving their purposes. A professional body may cost money to get started and it certainly takes a lot of hours of hard, fiddly and time-consuming work to run.

Just because everything formally is in place does not mean that anyone outside will take a blind bit of notice. That will be down to politics – but sorting that out is a different matter. Suffice it here to say that all the costs of trying to become a professional body may prove not worth the candle, because the resulting body may still not have the clout to achieve its original purpose – and this possibility is well worth considering before starting. Perhaps a simple association or society might be more suited to the priorities of most of those presently involved with Conductive Education.

Nor does establishing such a body mean that everybody eligible will need or wish to join.

This presence interest in Australia has been prompted, as I understand it, the wish of some conductors in one part of the country to be acknowledged as equals to allied health professionals within the Better Start Initiative. In declining this, Better Start has stated –

One of the factors that we took into account was the need for families to have recourse in the event of misconduct or concerns about therapy quality by a provider. As a result, to be eligible for listing on the panel of providers as a sole provider category, the therapeutic discipline must have a professional body and that body must have complaint handling facilities.  This would be one of the things Conductive Education would have to negotiate if it were to be added to the panel.

I suspect that in addition to this Better Start would expect some other requirements to be met, of the sort that I have suggested above. Rather than speculate on this, those directly involved should ask Better Start just what it expects and receive in formal reassurances from the allied health bodies – and therefore what it might expect from conductors.

All this is of course may be quite different from the situation and requirements from conductors and their employers working on the other side of the country, and the other side of the great health-education divide.

Australia does seem rather good at working through things publicly. This will be interesting to follow.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

NEW ZEALAND STILL SHOWING A WAY

Latest edition of NZFCE's Newsletter

Dave Ching of the New Zealand Foundation of Conductive Education has just mailed a copy of the Foundation's latest Newsletter (March 2012). Hard copies will be posted to subscribers on Thursday. The Internet edition is already freely available on line:

http://www.conductive-education.org.nz/Newsletter.pdf

I am not altogether sure, but I think that the NZFCE's quarterly is the only 'proper' newsletter currently being produced by a CE organisation anywhere in the world. As ever, corrections please if I am wrong.

News of general interest includes that the Foundation's robustly pinning its inclusion colours to a particular model of in-school service, and that the New Zealand Conductors' Association has published a document titled New Conductors Welcome Information. In both respects New Zealand offers a model of rational good practice that CE in most countries would be hard put to catch up with.

The population of New Zealand is less than 4.5 million. The Newsletter reports –

A recent survey of all Conductive Education facilities affiliated to NZFCE revealed that 150 children are accessing the programme throughout the nine NZ based facilities. The ages of participants range from 6 months to age 20.... In Christchurch a group of parents are presently negotiating... possibility of the establishment of an adults’ centre... The survey also established that at present there are eighteen conductors working in the child-centred facilities, plus two in the adult centre at Henderson.
The Foundation's new strategic plan will be presented to members at the AGM in May. Also in May will be the Foundation's annual awareness week.

The Newsletter concludes with a round-up of news from around the centres, and a useful contact list.

How do they do it? What is Ingredient x?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

NATIONAL CONFERENCE IN ROSENHEIM

Observations and first reflections

PETÖ UND INKLUSION
 KuKo Rosenheim
 09. März 2012 / Samstag, 10. März 2012

Reporting Germany

What a country. What wealth and confidence. What culture. What civilisation.

Granted, I have taken only a tiny time sample of this, in a particularly wealthy town in generally wealthy Bavaria, a Land that, in the estimation of its own inhabitants as in the eyes of many other Germans, is its own place distinct from what the rest of us are happy to lump together as simply 'Germany'. And this sample has been taken through the other-worldly context of a national conference on what they call there Konduktive Förderung or Petö – similar but certainly not identical to the wide range of ideas and activities referred to in the English-speaking world under the rubric of Conductive Education.

Nevertheless, it is only human to have an opinion, a gut-feeling about what one has experienced, and I am asked 'Well, what was the German conference like?' I am sure that every one of the around two-hundred people who attended has been asked the same question – or will have given a personal view whether asked or not. I hope that other personal reports will be published, in German or Hungarian or English, and find their way into the public domain.

Rosenheim and its Fortschritt

Rosenheim is a prosperous, spacious provincial town east of Munich, not generally a tourist destination but for the last ten years home to a lively and progressive Fortschritt. A Fortschritt, as I understand the term, is a parent-inspired and parent-led association that seeks to operate conductive services around and as much as possible in collaboration with statutory education services.

Conference website

A dedicated conference website has provided advance information of the conference, its purpose and content, with an URL offering an immediate facility of a link from any participating organisation, and for anyone else interested.


Appropriately for a national German conference, the website is written in German. It includes, though, an English-language translation of the full programme:


Now that the conference is over the website offers chance for continuing update and has already been updated with thanks to those who contributed and links to media coverage achieved.

It also promises news on publication of the conference's Dokumentation, expected 'ca. April 2012'.

The conference

Rosenheim's railway station fronts on to the typical public space and transport interchange. Greeting arrivals there was a bold, blue poster announcing Petö und Inklusion. The town's modern congress centre was similarly adorned, so were the welcoming Brezen (twisty bread rolls) distributed to conference-goers on registration, the printed conference folder, the handbills – and so is the conference website. All in all, a focused public message. Parked outside the congress hall throughout the time of the conference was a more permanent presence about town, a blue minibus from the Fortschritt Rosenheim, proudly emblazoned on front, rear and both sides with the word Petö.

Inklusion

I do not know precisely what Inklusion means at this point in the development of German social ideals and social policy (as I have never been sure at any given time in the UK either). I am sure that there will be many working in Germany towards theoretical answers to this question. I suspect, though, that the worlds of practice and politics will move on, as they do everywhere, leaving today's theoretical formulations to history, as has happened in the UK.

My most general impression from the Rosenheim conference was that in March 2012 the development of inclusive ideals, practices and policies in Germany generally are running a couple of decades behind those in the English-speaking countries. During the conference I was reminded very vividly of the wonderful, positive, hopeful atmosphere in analogous get-togethers in the UK in the mid nineteen-eighties. These were the stuff of the early volumes of Special Children magazine, and provided perhaps essential bedrock for the initially triumphant introduction of Conductive Education in the UK. Intoxicating times for us personally involved in those heady days, and similarly so for those involved in Germany now. For the moment too, German Inklusion, whatever this might currently mean, seems something that politicians and officials seem ready to stand by, as evidenced in their plentiful participation in this conference.

In the nineteen-eighties the enthusiasm for CE in the UK gained some strength from its association with the then powerful movement for genuine parental choice. In Germany now Inklusion is possibly fulfilling a similar role.

Perhaps too association with Inklusion will help shift emphasis away from 'rehabilitation' (social as much as medical) and back to education – special education maybe, inclusive education certainly – and along with that (dare one hope?) re-engage with pedagogy. Immediate index of the possibilities here is that the wide-ranging conference programme included two plenary contributions from German university professors, both educationalists. I cannot recall even one professor of education ever contributing to the progress of Conductive Education in this way in the English-speaking world over the years (though as ever, I would appreciate correction if my memory serves me ill).

Scan the conference programme to form your own judgement of how full and wide-ranging a programme the two days allowed, in terms of topics and contributors:


Minor, personal criticisms

Hats off to the organisers: this was an excellent event. Nothing, however, is perfect and it is worth recording three problems that I myself experienced – other conference organisers please note.

The Cultural and Congress Centre in Rosenheim is a most pleasant and well-situated venue (http://www.kuko.de) but the acoustics in its main lecture hall, the core of the formal, collective event, left a little to desire. I was not the only one to find this a problem but, being a little deaf, I was particularly sensitive to its effects.

There were only two days and there is such a lot to say. Timetables arranged differently (more parallel streaming?) and firmer chairing of some of the sessions might have generated more audience interaction.

National conferences potentially benefit from foreign participation. Five of us had been invited in from the English-speaking world and I hope that our contributions satisfied expectations. But as one of us remarked to the others this Inklusion event was for us paradoxically an exclusive experience. Just being there was a pleasure and a privilege, but a little more attention to including us more could have made our presence more rewarding, for everyone.

My own bit

I had been invited to speak on András Pető. 

I have to say that the conference-organisers pulled out the stops for my plenary presentation. I spoke in English, with a German translation in the hands of everyone in the audience and also projected on to a screen behind me. I was granted twenty minutes to speak, with a further ten minutes for questions and answers (with the services of a knowledgeable interpreter for my question time. Both my English and German texts will be published in a few weeks' time. One could not ask for anything more.

In the circumstances, quite contrary to my usual practice, I read my text as for a radio broadcast. In retrospect I wish that I had spoken more slowly (even though this would have meant pruning back what I wrote) as I was speaking just a little too fast and stumbled a couple of times over my words.

Further, the acoustics and my hearing did no services for either my interpreter or my audience. I should like particularly to apologise for misunderstanding the question from conductor Zsuzsa Hadházi who asked (I thought) about my opinion of why conductive pedagogy was initially so well established in Hungary, to which my reply identified András Pető's support from the Communist Party. Later I was told that I had actually been asked and misheard a more contemporary question, about my opinion on why conductive pedagogy had subsequently experienced such take-up outside Hungary. Had I heard correctly, I would have answered by situating parents by analogy in a burning building, seeking any window, any hatch, any doorway to escape through. Conductive Education is but one of the escape routes, a very good one as it happens, in fact the best currently in prospect. There are many others...

My message to the Germans?

That in fundamental ways András Pető's ideas were German.

You will be able to read my full presentation to the conference when the Dokumentation is published. Here, though, I should mention that the conference's open plenary presentation was by Franz Schaffhauser, Rektor of the Pető Institute. He spoke in German, to the title 'Pető's philosophy and idea of man'. And whose ideas did he cite?  Germans'.

At a more concrete and homely level I ought also to mention something that would be invisible (through its sheer familiarity) to most Germans but leapt to the attention of a visiting Brit alert to András Pető's particular professional background. The five-minute walk between my hotel to the conference hall took me past a local branch of this:


O Germans, there seem to have been such scales over your eyes in your quest for the roots of konduktive Pädagogik und Erziehung  conductive pedagogy and upbringing. Let them fall. Start seeking the roots of this Pädagogik und Erziehung, for the motor-disordered and for others too, direct from your own cultural experiences.

That was my message. Its implications are for others to draw.

Note

A Land is a constituent state within the German Federal Republic. Bavaria is a Land.



Sunday, 18 March 2012

A MITE MORE ON A. R. LURIYA

Project it as you will

Further to a posting here on Conductive World earlier this month, I have noticed the following the editors' introduction to Luriya's Mind and Society

...for him [Luriya] the study of the isolated brain could not reveal how behavior was organized. Rather, he kept firmly in mind the fact that properties of the entire system could not be reliably obtained from a study of its parts operating in isolation. The brain was part of both a larger biological and and a surrounding environmental system in which social organization was a powerful force... (p. 11)

This fits conductive pedagogy like a glove, no surprise there. Try projecting it on to any other theoretical approaches within contemporary 'rehabilitation', and check the fit.

References

Luriya, A. R. (1979) The Making of Mind: a personal account of Soviet psychology, Cambridge, Mass, and London, Harvard University Press

Sutton, A. (2012) 'German' heritage: towards identifying commonalities in András Pető, L. S. Vygotskii and A. R. Luriya, Conductive World, 6 March

Saturday, 17 March 2012

VERY GOOD FORM

On Wednesday 7 March, I posted 


A widely to-be-adopted precedent, I hope

Last night I received a request from one of the parent-organisers of this week's German conference, to complete a waiver for the conference's future use of my contribution –

Statement for Speakers
Please mark with a cross and fill in:
Name:
     I am in agreement:
That photos of myself can be published:    yes/no
That my congress contribution can be filmed and may be published on the Internet:   yes/no 
I ask the organizer to make photos available
The organizer may use my file(s) for convention documentation 

I will hand in a contribution of my own for the documentation by the end of March 2012

The organizer may report about my contribution
Any other:

I do not usually like filling in forms. At this one I rejoice, for it betokens a 'real' conference. I have ticked Yes to everything, adding that I reserve the moral rights to my own contribution. I look forward to seeing what will come of this, following the conference
  1. This is good news indeed. So many presentations and reports of Conductive Education don't reach out to everyone and this could mean a wider distribution of information and knowledge. Just what the Conductive Education needs! I will look forward to seeing material up on the Internet and linking it to my virtual catalogue on Conduction's website.
    Reply
  2. This is very welcome news. Actually it is common practise in Germany in all centres that work with children to distribute similar forms to families and adult clients and sometimes to staff as well. I welcome the fact that this is now spreading to include people taking part in such conferences.

    This may mean an end to shocks like the one that I received when I arrived at a conference a couple of years ago to find photographs of myself at work printed in a flyer that was distributed to all the delegates in their folders!

    I had absolutely no idea that the photographs had been taken, had not been asked my opinion on their content, and had never been asked about their use to illustrate a flyer.

    Such practise can not continue in this time of widespread internet use and I am very pleased to see that this conference continues to show how professionally it has been organised.
    Reply

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

'CONDUCIVE EDUCATION' IN COURT

Is 'developmental' early intervention educational?
And does this Supreme Court finding still stand?

QUESTION PRESENTED: Whether, Under 20 U.S.C. §1415(j), the Stay-Put Placement for a Child Transitioning From Part C to Part B of IDEA and Applying for Initial Admission to Public School, is the Child’s IFSP, Which May Not Include An Educational Component (p. 1)

NOTE 4: Conducive education is an educational approach for children with central nervous system disabilities which helps develop problem-solving skills. Id. at 182. Unlike in Pardini, in the Eleventh Circuit D.P. appeal, the triplets’ IFSPs did not contain any educational component.

CONCLUSION: The Petition for Writ of Certiorari should be Denied (p. 23)

A drafting error?

Do note that this finding concerns itself with an entity called 'conducive education' Presumably use of the word 'conducive' for 'conductive ' throughout this document was no more than an unnoticed drafting error. I know nothing of US law. Does this High Court finding stand for Conductive Education?

Substantive moral of the story

Conducive education is an educational approach for children with central nervous system disabilities... the triplets’ IFSPs did not contain any educational component.

CE in the US may find itself with a real problem under educational law, one of its own making, as long as it presents and provides itself primarily as a therapy rather than primarily as an education.

References

Supreme Court of the United States (2007) 07- 613: D.E on Behalf of E.E, D.E and K.E, and L.E on Behalf of E.E, D.E, and K.E, Petitioners, V. School Board of Broward County, Florida, Respondent, December

A few months later, with no awareness of this court hearing, Conductive World published the following:

Sutton, A, (2008) Conductive and conducive: another source of confusion, Conductive World, 23 April

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

'GERMAN' HERITAGE
Towards identifying commonalities in
András Pető, L. S. Vygotskii and A. R. Luriya

Levitin, K. (1982) One is Not Born a Personality: Profiles of Soviet Educational Psychologists, Moscow, Progress

I have just noticed that Karl Levitin's quirky little book is available on the Internet, in full and in free open access:


It was published in Moscow, in English, towards the close of the Soviet period and is in more ways than one an exceedingly irritating and frustrating publication. Its opening chapter, however, is written without the too obvious intrusion of its editor and offers an interesting account of the early life of L. S. Vygotskii, written by boyhood friend Semyon Dobkin. (Chapter III offers a glimpse of Luriya's earlier life).

Over the last few months, in preparation for the forthcoming book on András Pető to be published by Conductive Education Press, I have been reading something of the life of András Pető and, in preparation for this weekend's conference in Rosenheim, I have been writing something of the important part that the German language and German culture played in his life. By 'German' here I do not of course refer just to the territory of the present Federal Republic, but that great, rich cultural and linguistic entity that stretched in the first part of the twentieth century from the borders of France to the Volga.

András Pető in Szomathely, on the present Hugarian-Austrian border; L. S. Vygotskii in Gomel', in present-day Belarus; A. R. Luriya in Kazan' in present-day Tatarstan on the Volga – not just contemporaries but all three more 'German' than is generally credited by writers from successor states (and by Western writers who tend to present these life stories uncritically and ahistorically, for presumably different reasons).

Well worth considering by those interested in common factors in the thinking and practice of all three.

Reference

Dobkin, S. (1982) Ages and days, in K. Levitin, (ed.) One is Not Born a Personality: Profiles of Soviet Educational Psychologists, Moscow, Progress, pp. 11-20

Monday, 5 March 2012

'CUT SPASTIC LEGS OFF'


Suggestion not specific to one country
Exemplifies wider point

On his blog this morning Ralph Strzałkowski recalled an incident in Poland when an eminent professor of orthopaedics made a surprising suggestion about one way to deal with Ralph's spastic legs –

From the first minutes it was becoming obvious that his experience with spastic limbs was limited at best and he didn't really know what to do with me. He wanted to say something just so it wouldn't seem like he was wasting our time and his, which he was. As we were talking, he said, 'You're so highly functional and your upper body is strong, your legs seem to be holding you back. It is just an idea, but perhaps you could walk with prosthetic legs.'

Such an unthinking and ill-informed response is not of course specifically Polish. It reminded me immediately of a daft conversation that I had years ago in the British Houses of Parliament –

In the mid-eighties, shortly after the screening of Standing up for Joe, at the hight of the national CE-fever, I was at some CE-related event at the Houses of Parliament. I was approached by some beamish Sir Bufton-Tufton MP, exuding the desire to say something to indicate his positive, beefy good will.

'What I can't understand though is why, if their legs don't work, they can't just have them amputated and artificial ones fitted...'

Knowledge management

On might understand bumbling lay naivety like Sir Bufton's, and it is relatively easy to deal with. The doctor's is another matter. Ralph comments:

It seems to me that some medical practitioners are hostages to their limited perspective and they are not open enough to try other ideas. The 'I know better' (even if I don't know anything about it) attitude is not only a product of a particular time or location. I also think that resistance to the Peto method is rooted in the same type of sentiment that prevents some to even entertain it as a possible approach. And just by watching my mother interact with the man I realized another deeply rooted thing. Utmost respect for the profession, no matter what. Even if you're dealing with an closed minded  person. We are ready to dismiss things, even if we don't know. Some people will just say silly things. I almost had my legs amputated! On the other end you have parents, who would try anything if it can possibly help. But they don't often have the full information. To my doctor his suggestion made more sense than alternatives that he didn't consider and didn't  know existed. Obviously we didn't go through it, but it opened a Pandora's box of questions I'm too afraid to ask.

A specific, fearful question that immediately occurs is to wonder whether some doctors and lay people have actually gone forward and made such a radical surgical response, somewhere, some time...

But the less acute problem, the chronic but more pervasive one of self-confident, often unquestioned (but all the same limited) professional understandings should be of wider concern. These are not restricted to one country or to any one profession. As Conductive World reported earlier this week, there is expressed concerned about this tendency amongst doctors. Ralph's eminent Polish specialist seems an excellent candidate for knowledge-management. Let us hope that Conductive Education crates effective measures of its own.

References

Strzałkowski, R. (2012), "Let's amputate your legs", Lawyer on Wheels, 5 March

Sutton, A. (2011) An anecdote from olden time, Conductive World, 15 September

Sutton, A. (2012) A doctors' dilemma, Conductive World, 27 February

Sunday, 4 March 2012

HUSH, HUSH, WHISPER WHO DARES

Debate in and around Conductive Education

Later this week I am off to Rosenheim in Bavaria, to the two-day biennial national bash of what in German they call Konduktive Förderung – or just plain 'Petö' – i.e. what, just as confusingly, English-speakers usually refer to as Conductive Education. The conference is provocatively titled 'Petö and Inclusion'. Both halves of this coupling are enough to create excitement and disagreement in themselves: bringing the two together even more so. I do hope that this will prove a lively and stimulating occasion.

Oh, I do hope so. Despite the considerable unresolved conflicts in and around Conductive Education (or Konduktive Förderung, or 'Petö' or whatever it is called in umpteen different languages nowadays), there are few if any public debates about anything in or around the field.

I was reminded about this today, by an email received from Rony Schenker –

The only published comment on my recent post'(Middle) East meets (Far) East', was that of Norman Perrin, who asked me "What does 'rehabilitation' mean for you?'

My answer was the following: 'For me rehabilitation is a mode of segregated ‘fixing’ service-delivery, derived from the medical model, and based on outcomes in which the child is perceived as a puzzle, whose different parts are divided between different professionals, where at best, the pieces may perfectly fit but the whole picture does not make any sense.'

This reply, however, did not evoke any other comments. But... I'm still curious to hear others' opinions on what rehabilitation meana.

Maybe if published on your Blog, Andrew it will. Maybe not.

Well, Rony, here it is as requested. There can hardly be bigger questions in the world today than those posed by China – and lil' ole CE is not to be spared in this respect. As for your second point, there are those who advocate the term 'conductive rehabilitation'. You hardly make this sound an attractive proposition.

I do wonder, however, whether my requested intervention will prompt the debates around either issue that you would like to see.

Still, we live in hope.

Respond to...

Rony's report on China, along with her challenge over 'rehabilitation', can be read and replied to at: