Thursday, 25 April 2013


Chinese public awareness of Conductive Education

Cerebral palsy seems to feature often in present-day Chinese popular education on matters to do with children's health and development, with Conductive Education's taking a routine, matter-of-fact place in discussion of possibilities for rehabilitation.

Here is an example from this morning's Zhuji News:

This particular article concerns language rehabilitation for children with cerebral palsy. Many such children, it reports, need help in this respect – but how? Outside China medical specialists and therapists have evolved practices such as NDT, Bobath, Vojta, and Conductive Education.

It also notes that cerebral palsy is more an a matter of neuromuscular and musculoskeletal systems, but also 'the overall physical and psychological development of children'.Since the reform and opening of in the nineteen-seventies, it goes on, such methods have been gradually introduced to children with cerebral palsy rehabilitation sector in China (in addition to much work to use Traditional Medicine, with good outcomes reported).

Hospital-based rehabilitationists state that they aim to include the work of paediatrics, neurology, orthopaedics, rehabilitation physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapy, speech therapists, psychologists, counselors and special education teachers, and other types of rehabilitation participation.

Conductive Education in China

I have no way of knowing how far such an article is typical of Chinese public understanding of cerebral palsy and Conductive Education. I does, however, seem to accord to with most else of what I have read seen and heard:
  • while maintaining an active interest in the applicability of Traditional Medicine, China has adopted dominant medical forms of the West in dealing with the cerebral palsies – 'rehabilitation', incorporating what might by now be regarded as our traditional therapies;
  • (thanks particularly to SAHK in Hong Kong) something called Conductive Education has been imported unquestioned along with all this – but without the general discounting of CE that has so often been part of western understanding;
  • there is some suggestion that what I would call the psycho-social effects of cerebral paresis are further to the fore in professional attention in China than they tend to be in the West – perhaps an effect of a deeper mind-body understanding than apparent in much contemporary Western medicine.
And what do they mean by 引导式教育 anyway – Conductive Education?

Chinese Conductive Education

The words behind the Chinese characters 引导式教育 are conventionally stated in English as Conductive Education. I have had it courteously explained to me that is so that we outside China might understand what the Chinese mean.

I suspect that they refer to a process struggling towards the same outcomes as does Conductive education in the West, but within a different context of culture and upbringing, with all that these imply for the the development of personality. I have described this elsewhere as Oriental Conductive Education.

For a little more on the simply linguistic level, see:

And a slightly wider consideration on Chinese culture and upbringing in this context, see Chapter 2 of:

Meanwhile, today's popular education article from China is another reminder of a very important social factor distinguishing sharply between the 'two Conductive Educations', their relevant acceptance within in their respective professional worlds.


(2012) 小儿脑瘫的语言康复治疗 [Language rehabilitation of children with cerebral palsy], 24 April

Sutton, A. (2010) 引導式教育 and 引导式教育, Conductive World, 8 August

Sutton, A. (2011) Last year in Hong Kong, Birmingham, Conductive Education Press

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