Saturday, 15 June 2013


Chose where you fight

I received this circular notification this morning from Ontario, Canada, via Facebook. This is a sample letter to be sent to Members of Parliament, prepared by the Chase the Dream charity, but with local variations it might be sent in many places around the world where CE's advocates try to get local legislators and insurance systems to pay for Conductive Education for children:

And I am torn about what to think, what to do. The letter carries enormous hope, and it is so right in thrusting this issue firmly into the political arena where it belongs.


The provision of Conductive Education is a political matter, concerned with choice and power and money, and only an organised political campaign will see Conductive Education through in the face of ubiquitous opposition (it is amazing how few seem to realise this to the point of concerted action). Provision of Conductive Education is not a question for policy-making by 'professionals' and bureaucrats.

The letter's basic position is compatible with this –

Families and friends of children with neurological motor disorders, such as cerebral palsy, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, and victims of stroke or brain injury, are asking that the Ontario Health Care system do its homework and recognize that the current system is not meeting the physical, intellectual, social, and medical needs of these individuals. Conductive Education programs offer families a coordinated system of treatment that will help to meet these needs.

Conductive Ed needs to be recognized by the Ontario Health Care system as a legitimate method of therapy and treatment for individuals, young and old, suffering from neurological disorders, and provide financial support to help families off-set the costs incurred while receiving such treatment.


I do not know the structure of services and how they are funded in Ontario but surely no other special-educational service there is provided via the healthcare system.

It is hard enough to fight for Conductive Education for the motor-disordered. Children with other developmental disabilities in the twenty-first century will have been long within the province of the education service, where no doubt their parents continue to strive for ever better upbringing, pedagogy and education accordingly (not treatment and therapy).

Let us not be cynical, nor let us be surprised if fundholders in education everywhere are more than happy if the advocates of Conductive Education divert their enormous energies to assaulting the walls of the fortress next door, that of the the health authorities.

This can line of attack can be certainly justified by Conductive Education's being made to sound to outsiders like a health concern –

Conductive Ed programs work. By re-training the brain through intensive, multi-stimulatory therapy, people with neurological motor disabilities are able to generate muscle memory to enable them to perform body motions – such as sitting, standing, walking, holding and manipulating objects, and drawing – all of which were not possible through conventional therapy currently offered by the Ontario Health Care system. Coordinating services (e.g. occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language) allow families more time and energy to focus on quality family time instead of travelling from one appointment to the next. Conductive Ed programs offer individuals greater independence, thereby, function with less reliance on government agencies in adulthood.

These are not arguments to threaten Conductive Education's opponents within health, though they may maintain or even widen Conductive Education's distance from education.


I wrote above that I feel 'torn' over this letter. In the early twentieth century so much is taken ans unproblematicly 'medical'. It may be that the assumptions of this age will be strong enough to convince legislators in Ontario that Conductive Education should be pushed through and established within the realm of health provision.

A younger generation of advocates is likely know the spirit of their time better that I.


Chase the Dream (2013) Help those who can’t – support Conductive Education (sample letter), 28 April

1 comment:

  1. Posted this on my blog a while ago:

    On the difference between therapy and conductive education
    Don't take me too seriously, but there's some truth in it and, anyway, it made me smile.

    Question: What's the difference between physical therapy and conductive education?
    Answer: Therapy gets you walking; conductive education helps you work out why you'd want to in the first place.

    I also posted this in 2007