Monday, 30 April 2012

REPUTATION

A camel's back

I do not know whether the following account faithfully represents the particular practice of Conductive Education that it refers to, or its actual theoretical base..  This, however, is a posting about image, not substance.

I had already received a indignant email about it, even before Google.co.uk woke me up this morning to inform me direct.

...transforms the lives of families with children who have cerebral palsy and other severe motor disabilities. Program assistants... work methodically with these children throughout the day, combining physical and educational methods to help the children find alternative ways to complete motions like sitting, walking, standing and feeding themselves. Each class is conducted by occupational therapists...a holistic approach... aspects such as walking from room to room with sliders and ladders, using the restroom on a time schedule, practicing stretching techniques and educational activities. ...conductive education is based on the theory that the central nervous system in children with motor disabilities has the ability to form new neural connections, despite neurological damage... opportunity to achieve new movements and greater independence. ...an occupational therapist consultant... incorporated sensory motor techniques into the program...  etc.


Another straw cast upon the camel's back of reputation, all executed with the very best of intentions.

AND SO FAREWELL, KNOL

Overtaken by expanding technologies

Google's Knol was to be the next big thing –

Knol—We launched Knol in 2007 to help improve web content by enabling experts to collaborate on in-depth articles...

In November 2011 Google announced that Knol would be phased out. From 1 May to 1 October 2012, Knols will no longer be publicly viewable, and will then become wholly unaccessible.

Conductive World tried to use Knol as a way to create longish supplements but Knol proved hard to format satisfactorily and the attempt was abandoned. In our own little sector the need for it has anyway been overtaken by the opening of Conductive Depository on the Conduction website:


Present location of former supplements

Assessment: the earlier the better. Or not, as the case might be (953)
To be decided

Conductive Education: whatever next (2958)

Conductive Education: a revolution for families with cerebral palsy (2563 )
To be decided

CE-related research (2320)

Notes towards a history of Conductive Education (3,031)
To be decided

As yet undecided locations will be announced on Conductive World as soon of possible. And on Facebook too:


The figures in brackets indicate the number of visits recorded by each paper during its sojourn on Knol, noted three hours before final closure.  Some eight thousand or so thousand views in all. Whatever its dreadful flaws, Knol must have been of some use. So goodbye, Knol, and thanks for all the fish.

And yes, you noticed, as a final gesture of defiance on its way out, Knol has transferred some evil gremlin that insists on putting this whole posting in bold. Goodbye, and good riddance!

FAITH

Of any kind
Without which...

Read what an Australian mother blogged yesterday on receiving confirmation that her daughter's multiple severe disabilities disabilities include cortical deafness:


I read it, and am humbled

Faith

The pages of the Internet carry colossal testimony to the importance of religious faith to many of those who care for disabled children and adults, not exclusively but for the main part amongst families. Partly due to of the present distribution of Internet use – or perhaps because of my particular linguistic horizons – almost all that I have seen of this is written in English, it comes from America, and it is Christian.

This anonymous Australian mother is Muslim.

Faith, hope and charity

No implication is to be drawn here that love as shown in this blog is the exclusive property of Christians and Muslims, or even of the peoples or the religions of the Book, or indeed of religions in general. Nor need one adopt A. N.Tolstoi's half-way house formulation: 'Where there is love, there is God also'.

We Brits (with unfortunate exceptions) and many in other lands too, tend not to 'do God', certainly not to do so publicly. Anyway, there is no need for God to explain or underpin love of any kind.

For good or ill, the human spirit is an extraordinarily powerful, conquering force, however expressed and wherever met. And bringing up disabled children may have to call upon deep reserves of the human spirit. Never having had personally to do so myself, I always stand humbled when I meet those who do. Could I be like that? I do hope so. But I cannot be sure...

Caring

There is much political, bureaucratic and would-be technical talk about 'carers', be these carers who bring up and look after their own disabled children and adults in their own families, or those whose look after those of others on behalf of families themselves, charitable agencies or the state.

It is less often mentioned explicitly that the word carers means 'those who care' – and that some carers may care less that others, and some may not care at all. Or about how caring in this literal, human sense might be nurtured and developed.

All the more reason to grasp the nettle and account this factor explicitly when considering the lives of disabled children and adults, and of those who care for them, especially those who are employed to 'care' and may be supposedly trained to do so.

'Training' conductors

I used to try to contribute to this in various ways when lecturing to student-conductors, one being by hanging what I said upon the connections between faith, hope and love, and how these might be manifest within even wholly non-religious understandings of the task of conductive educators. Was I successful? I do not know.

I have always been convinced that the most important part of conductors' 'training' is not simply or even primarily a matter of acquiring/transmitting skills, or even knowledge, but a matter of socialisation into a culture of values, beliefs, emotional commitments etc. I do not recall having come across explicit account of this either – though I have met many examples of its successes, and of its failures.

How does onecapture and convey the essence of Lightnur?

Sunday, 29 April 2012

A JOB FOR A CONDUCTOR: WHAT TO ASK?

Checking out a possible conductor to employ
And vice versa?

An extract from a recent and extensive contribution to CE MARKETPLACE, from a mother in the USA looking to employ a summer conductor. She asks potential applicants the following questions:
  • what is your country of origin?
  • do you speak clear English without too heavy an accent? (I hope that doesn't sound rude. I ask this because Jocelyn already has communication challenges and I do not want to confuse her too much!) 
  • where did you gain your certification in conductive education? 
  • is your license to practice CE current? 
  • have you ever traveled to the USA? Have you ever worked here?
  • what type of disability does the child you are currently working with have? 
  • what types of disabilities have the children you've worked with in the past had? Have you ever worked with a child with undiagnosed developmental delay? 
  • have you ever worked with children under two years old? If so, how many hours a day did you work together? 
  • do you smoke? 
  • are you married and/or have your own children? 
  • are you willing to travel within the northeast of the US for weekend trips during your stay with our family? 
  • are you willing to be flexible in the times of day in which you work? For example, if we travel out of town we may not have a regular "session" but instead you implement your therapy into the course of the day or in the evening at the hotel. 
  • have you ever worked in a private home setting? 
  • can you provide references from your previous employers/parents of children you've treated? 
  • can you drive well? Do you have an international driver's license? Are you comfortable driving an SUV with the baby in back? 
  • can you reply with a photo of yourself?

I am not entitled by personal experience to elaborate on Julie's list, though others no doubt can. Please feel free to do so, as there is little opportunity for information-exchange of this kind. I might, however, make a couple of outsider's points of information that require no practical experience of my own.
  • Conductors do not have a 'licence to practice' They are not members of that kind of profession. They do have initial, career-entry qualifications, variously graded, but there is neither mechanism nor possibility for their being continuingly licensed in the way that I think is meant meant here.
  • One has to tailor questions and expectations to particular circumstances, not least the employment laws in the country in which the conductor is to be employed (I suspect, for example, that some of these questions are not permitted under EU law).
Vice versa

Of course, in negotiating any such employment arrangement it would seem reasonable for conductors to seek references in turn from parents.

Any relevant experiences or suggestions...?

Saturday, 28 April 2012

WHO LOOKS AT THIS STUFF?

Not necessarily whom one might think

Page views

Over the four-weeks period (30 Mar 2012 – 28 Apr 2012) Blogger informs me, 7,767 pages from Conductive World were viewed by people around the world

Viewing a page does not of course mean reading it. There is no way of indexing this!

Page views by countries 

United States
2,059
United Kingdom
1,039
Russia
611
China
430
Germany
324
Ukraine
278
Hungary
257
France
178
Poland
126
Australia
119


A sense of audience

The relative figures for the US, the UK, Germany, Hungary and Australia, are as I might have anticipated, not least in that the United States accounted for getting on for a third of all page views. But the figures for five of this top ten were not expected. The immediate big surprise is perhaps the figure for Russia. Add in the Ukraine and the figure is even more surprising, their combined total approaching the figure for the United Kingdom.

The appearance here of China and Poland may also come as a surprise, and so too perhaps is that of conductively deprived France.

These figures of course are not necessarily directly indicative of the world-wide national distribution of wanting to read about CE. They do, however, offer pause for thought.

I do hope that others can offer other ways of indexing such interest.

Friday, 27 April 2012

HD VIDEO STREAMING AND RECORDING

C21 way to help families' in-between times...

Look in this beyond the management jargon –

One of the greatest assets that an organization possesses is its information... most valuable when it is in the right hands, with the stakeholders who need it most.

HD video collaboration is a great way to convey information... But what happens when that video call is over? Is there a record of it? Is there any way to review the material again? What happens if a group of individuals is located halfway around the world, in a different time zone or on the road, traveling from city to city to build relationships with customers? This is the part of the conversation when HD video recording and streaming takes center stage. 

Streaming and recording is a simple concept with extraordinary benefits... [an] example is a Canadian agency that specializes in therapy for children with specialneds, including Down syndrome, OCD and cerebral palsy. The organization records therapy sessions at the patient’s home and the parents can re-watch the recorded session to hone their skills and provide better care to their child. 


Kids First

The Canadian agency mentioned is Kids First Communication Services Inc. in Edmonton. Some conductors might find rather more of interest than just innovative use of video in Kids First's model of working –
Kids First will provide Specialized Services within a consultative activity based programming model. This model includes intensive, integrated, in-home, clinic and/or community based intervention programs by a multidisciplinary team of professionals. The role of each professional is determined by the individual needs of the client and by the scope of practice outlined by each clinician’s professional college. Team members typically include Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Physical Therapists, Behaviour Consultants, Child Intervention Therapists and Clinical Program Coordinators. 
http://www.kids-first.ca/html/consultative_approach.html
Kids First Communication Services Inc. is an Alberta-based company committed to excellence in the provision of individual and group services for children with severe disabilities and their families. Kids First was created in response to the significant clinical needs experienced by children and families in Edmonton and the surrounding areas. As the Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) Act was proclaimed (August 2004), Kids First was contracted to provide an array of services to meet these needs. The FSCD Act is intended to provide family-centred services focusing on the child's developmental needs as well as the family in supporting the child.  
http    http://www.kids-first.ca/html/parents.html
'Geronimo!'
It is 2012. Time for more people in CE everywhere, both providers and users, to shout 'Geronimo' and leap boldly into the twenty-first century...

NOT 'JUST FOR CEREBRAL PALSY'

CE with 3p25 deletion syndrome

There are still far too many statements (and beliefs) that Conductive Education is only for children with cerebral palsy – or even that it was 'was specifically developed for children with cerebral palsy'. Never mind questions of the arbitrary nature of what constitutes cerebral palsy, there is the more important matter that neither statement is true!
Fortunately, many conductors and centres know better, and act accordingly. As a result, so do many parents too.
Here is an interesting case study*, published in a local newspaper this morning, from England's East Midlands about a girl who has '3p25 deletion', also called 3p- (say it as 'three p minus', or 'three p deletion') syndrome 
When she was three, Catherine and James – a call handler for Derbyshire police at its Ripley headquarters – took Scarlett to the Steps Conductive Education Centre, in Shepshed, Leicestershire, to help her learn how to walk. 
The centre helps youngsters acquire motor skills. After her daughter's time there, Catherine wanted to volunteer and now works part-time for the charity.

She says: 'Doctors were not sure at all whether or not Scarlett would walk so when she started walking before she was four that was really nice. I think she became determined to do so after she learned what she could access by doing so.

'She had a walker but wouldn't go near it at first, though when we left it around for her for a while she began to get used to it, so we could then show her what it did and it went from there. It was slow progress but it was at her pace.'

A nice outcome with locomotion, and what looks like positive opportunity to see what further might be achieved across the board through continuing family conductive upbringing.

Rare Chromosome Disorder Support Group

For a very good guide to 3p- syndrome:


A printed leaflet is also available – free but make a donation to Unique if you wish.

Similar information is also available on many other rare disorders:


Steps

____________
* Yes, I know that this is actually a newspaper report rather that a technical case study, but it is good reportage and superior to many a professional account that I have read on similar topics.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

PLAGIARISM

Two bloggers speak

Conductive World's posting about the new website Conductive Education World Hungary has attracted very little on-line comment. Almost none in fact.

Gill Maguire has of course remarked it, with characteristic equanimity. This can be read in full at:


I have also had an email from Susie Mallett, not the first to experience a problem in getting a Comment through and posted on this creaking blog, and asking to post it here or her. Here it is –
How happy I was last week to be able to write a congratulatory comment on Gill Maguire‘s recent posting about being a late bloomer:
http://www.gillian-maguire.info/2012/04/late-bloomer.html
Gill Maguire has a whole list of book titles to her name and a wonderful blog, and pages on the Conduction website that she spends hours of her unpaid time producing.
She works so hard to provide the likes of me, a conductor, and also parents, partners, families, carers, students and anyone else interested, with as much information as she can possibly find about conductive education, conductive pedagogy and related subjects.Gill does not just file articles away in the Conduction’s Library and Depository, or bring our attention on her blog to the work that different centres are doing, or list the titles of new books published, no, she does it all by adding her personal touch. She adds a few words of praise for contributors, she asks for help searching for items and even apologises just in case details are not accurate. I believe she has on occasion even offered her most welcome personal opinion on conductive matters!Then I read Andrew Sutton's latest posting: 
http://www.conductive-world.info/2012/04/london-calling.htm
It was late last night, but I went straight to the website that he described there.Not only did I find there the lists of information that Gill Maguire took many hours of hard work to compile without any reference to Gill, her blog or the Conduction website, I also found something that I feel to be much more important to mention. Those little personal snippets of writing that add such a lovely personal touch to Gill’s postings had also been copied, as Andrew Sutton put it, ‘wholesale’, ‘without a hint or acknowledgement of their source’.I saw this as not only theft of knowledge and hard work, but stealing a bit of Gill herself. It seemed like bits of Gill’s souls had been stolen and abandoned higgledy piggledy on the website of a stranger for whom all this is a commodity, to be heartlessly appropriated.No, that kind of behaviour without any kind of acknowledgement really is not on.I really do not see the reason behind doing this ‘wholesale’ transfer of Gill’s blog postings on to this new blog. The information that has been put in this site is already accessible online on Gill’s own site, so it is only necessary to give the URL to link readers to the original source and in this way also acknowledge that it is Gill’s work.I have not been able to fathom out the reason behind the creation of this website. There are several proposed pages that are not functioning yet and it is also difficult to know who the site is aimed at as the language is a mixture of English and Hungarian skipping word by word from one language to the other.Andrew Sutton says that he cannot be bothered with this and I understand him. We all have so much to do. We could just wait and see what evolves. On the other hand I think that we should be bothered and that Gill should be given the credit for the hours of unpaid work that she does for us all.Thanks again, Gill. What would we do without you!
Problems posting comments?
If you meet similar problems posting on Conductive World, do please write to:
By the way
I forgot myself to remark that I love the coincidence of the name to this new blog, the sincerest form of flattery.

Monday, 23 April 2012

LONDON CALLING

BRAZEN, BRASS-NECKED RIP-OFF

What? Who?

A new website opened in March, called Conductive Education World Hungary. It is written in Hungarian and English and, despite its name, based in London. A casual reading of its home-page might suggest to the casual reader that it originates from the Foundation for Conductive Education (though this is not explicitly stated) but in fact this website follows the besetting tradition of anonymity:


It does, however, offer the contact address of konduktorlondonba@gmail.com (konduktor Londonba means 'conductor to London') an email address used by an unnamed 38- 0r 39-year-old conductor who has been advertising very widely for employment in the London area and may well indeed now be over here and employed.

The blog is not fully operational, with some tabs not working yet, but there is enough there to promise much of interest to come:

This blog is to help as a connection point for everyone who has any form of contact with this area.

A companion blog appears to be planned, called Conductor-Konduktor, but this is not yet operational:


It all sounds a most welcome and unproblematical initiative...

Let your problem be ours

So proclaims the bold heading to the homepage.

Of course information should be free and openly available. Something published anywhere, including or especially on the Internet, is public property.

The extensive information lists that comprise the bulk of this new site's content are taken directly from Gill Maguire's Conductive Education Information:

Fair enough, those lists are put there to inform, freely, openly and in good faith. But to lift them wholesale, without hint or acknowledgement of their source? No thanks, no links, nothing. As though original compilations. That's just not on.

I do not think that this amounts to plagiarism as such (though some might disagree). It does, however, play fast and loose with the product of somebody else's labour and intellectual property. It is very definitely atrocious ill-manners, spivvy, a rip-off, a fast one... It is the sort of thing that tarnishes Conductive Education's reputation for us all.

My problem is that I think that this is all rather a poor show. It lowers the tone. I cannot be bothered, however, even to try and pass my problem across to this blog's author as invited above.


Maybe the ecosystem will do it for me. Above I wrote that she 'may well indeed be now over here and employed.' Maybe someone who reads this will already be employing her in a centre or a in a family's home, and recognise that e-mail address. I wonder ...

I have not told Gill about this yet. I wonder how she will take it when she finds out...

KUWAIT

Disappearing with a trace?

Hush, hush...

A little over a week ago Conductive World quoted a brief published report that suggested radical changes had taken place at CESK:


So far this short posting has so far attracted 141 visits from around the world (and rising), but none of its visitors has yet posted a Comment.

That earlier posting was also routinely notified on Conductive World's Facebook page, attracting no Comment there either (though there has been one solitary, gnomic 'Like it'!):


'What is going on?' – it was gently enquired in both of these items. So many conductors have worked at CESK in over its nearly nine years (treble figures?). In other contexts one might have expected someone to have something to say... Not in CE. Nothing. Radio silence.

Any further information?

There is standing mention of CESK on sites advertising international teaching positions, but no specific jobs appear to be currently on offer.

ISBI, the international information resource on independent schools, now lists CESK as follows –
Details of Conductive Education School – Kuwait 
This school is a special school that provides for this particular need:
EpilepsyDelicate/Medical ConditionsAspergers SyndromeLanguage and Communication DisordersSevere Learning Difficulties (SLD)Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD)Social Emotional and Behavioural DifficultiesDyslexia or Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD)Physical DisabilitiesAutistic Spectrum of Difficulties
This school offers therapeutic input for EBD pupils.
A paradigm of reality


Conductor Judit Szathmáry was involved in the first, heady setting-up stage of CESK, in 2003, and later used the phrase 'a paradigm of reality' in the title of a chapter that she wrote describing that work, published in the book Internationalising Conductive Education (2010, pp. 77-84):

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1736366


The term 'Conductive Education' appears to have been retained in Kuwait, but staffing policy, as recently reported (see last week's item on Conductive World), appears now qualitatively different. So too is the reported client base, to a degree to surprise even diversifiers within Conductive Education.


I was always rather puzzled by that phrase of Judit's. I wonder now whether it might be interpreted as a prescient vision of the shape of many things to come...


I am reminded by all this of how Mária Hári used to like quoting Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I can see why. She must have felt at home there. If she were still with us I should try and extract a little wry amusement from all this by likening Conductive Education to the Cheshire Cat (Chapter VI)...
...and this time [the Cat] vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.
'Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin,' thought Alice; 'but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!' 
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~rgs/alice-VI.html

Friday, 20 April 2012

THERE MUST BE OTHER WAYS

Perhaps even better ones

Here is an recent version of a widespread, long-standing and still largely unresolved problem.
  
The city of Darwin is the state capital of Australia's Northern Territory. It has 127,500 inhabitants, and is a long way from anywhere. It is a modern, sophisticated place, except that it is a conductor-free zone.

It is also in Australia, not the best country in the English-speaking world in which to bring up disabled children. To be fair, though, things are a little easier there now, at least for families of young disabled children, since the inauguration of the Better Start funding programme. With good will and some nifty footwork conductive services just might be open to such funding, but this is in no way certain.

And in Darwin, as in so many places around the world, how does one identify sufficient families aware enough of CE to assemble a viable group?

And if one does manage to create a group, and win the agreement of the funding body to support something that is not 'a therapy', how much conductor time can one parachute in to families' lives? How much time can be made to work together to create conductive lifestyles within finite budgets? How is progress made to be sustained at school age?

Hardly novel questions.

Different models

And what happens if no conductor comes to Darwin, or all those other places that for various reasons cannot create and maintain 'a group'? What happens then?

In 2012 surly there are better models to broaden the conductive benefit. Here are a couple:
  • Never mind 2012, more than twenty years ago Károly and Magda Ákos developed a family-based, parental self-help model for deployment in Germany, to generate conductive ways of family living through family-centred conductive upbrining
  • And now we have emails, social networking, the Internet...
I do not know whether Better Start would smile on such stand-off, non-therapeutic delivery – or even whether many parents would actually like to adopt such approaches. In Darwin, and Lagos, and Trinidad, and London, and New York, and Buenas Aries, and so many other places, there there is absolutely no foreseeable chance that most people who might wish to benefit will ever experiencing conducive services as they were originally developed. Or even stop-gap arrangements that have emerged in their stead.

There will  have to be either radical departures – or for most people who would like to try,there will be nohing.

Reference

(2012) Visiting Occupational Therapist, Joshua's story, 20 April

http://amazingjoshua.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/visiting-occupational-therapist.html




CONDUCTIVE EDUCATION SCHOOL KUWAIT

What is going on?

Undated extract from International Schools Review (International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed) –
Huge staff turn-over at Conductive Education School. Staff who stay don't know what their contract and conditions are for the next year. All the native English- speaking overseas and professional staff left. 
Mostly Indian, African and Egyptian staff teaching the English syllabus at Conductive Education School. The board doesn't know what it is doing and doesn't care about...
View this evaluation of Conductive Education School in its complete form and see more reviews of Conductive Education School in International Schools Review 
http://www.irazoo.com/ViewSite.aspx?q=conductive+education+school+-+kuwait&Page=&irp=&Site=http://www.internationalschoolsreview.com/international-schools/conductive-kuwait.htm
To view the complete report costs US$ 29.00

Can anyone offer further information free of charge...?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

STRINGS FOR BOWS

Other jobs for conductors

When funding for conductive work is hard to find, or dries up altogether, then conductors may have to find another string for their bow.

There are examples of this aplenty around the world. Announced today is conductor Stephanie Driver's beach-side yoga class in Hoi An. It looks nice work if you can get it to tide over mean times.

Steph writes –

Am trying to earn some money so that I can continue with the CE completely voluntarily now that I'm not with Voluntary Service Overseas.

Want to help my friend at her centre, Kianh Foundation, will be a couple of days a week, will try to work more with the physios to help them build their skills and knowledge and ideas, rather than trying to set up CE from scratch, and also do some yoga with a couple of the kids who are very severely disabled.

The staff at this place are great, they really care about the kids and try to take on anything they are shown, and they have just opened a brand new early intervention centre for about 100 kids (in the one district where this centre is, about 12km outside of Hoi An, there are around 900 kids who have some kind of disability), so this is where I will start to help them once I have the yoga thing up and running. Well, running with more people! Have contracts at two of the 5-star hotels on the beach, slowly getting the guests...I have two jobs that I love, in a beautiful place, am very, very lucky!

Just what other things are conductors doing around the world? And once financially sorted, are many in a position to continue working as conductors 'voluntarily', i.e. free, at no charge to anyone?

References

Hoi An Yoga

Kianh Foundation

Report in Conductive World

Chapter in Just do it!
Driver, S. (2009) Vietnam: a chronicle, in G. Maguire and A. Sutton (eds) Just do it! Young conductors make their way in their new world, Birmingham, Conductive Education Press, pp. 51-60

Report in The Conductive Post