Monday, 10 March 2014


No, but it fails itself and its clients
Better state its goals and outcomes

Exerpted from Ralph Strzałkowski's reflections on the recent fuss –
When I was asked  to deliver keynotes at Conductive Education World Congress last Fall, my mother was surprised. She couldn't see how I could be perceived a success story of that rehabilitation method at all... How can I be a success, if we quit it and it never got me the one thing my parents always wanted, the one thing that all of this was meant to lead to, the thing that would justify years of sacrifices, hard work, different approaches, costly therapies and a prolonged stay at a foreign institute: me walking? From my mother's perspective my years in Hungary were a failure.
...But it was never properly explained to her what it did and why... we didn't blame the method- we blamed ourselves. Recently Andrew Sutton cited a post from one of the disappointed parents who didn't get the result they expected and concluded the method is at fault and therefore it must be a scam. And I can relate to it somewhat. Nothing was ever explained to my parents either...
What my parents didn't see- was my increased mobility. My better balance. That I could get around more. That I could figure out how to transfer myself from a chair to a wheelchair, how to climb on to a bed, how to figure out where to push and where to pull to get on a toilet seat. For me and I can only speak about my own experiences and what I think, I benefited as everyone is different it was something that greatly benefited my quality of life. And it allows me to function today...
But my parents didn't know it. Because the Pető Institute never bothered to explain anything. You were just expected to blindly follow a conductor, an authority figure, and trust that there's a reason for everything that happens on the floor.
And I think Hungarian conductors were spoiled by this uniquely highly regarded authority position they had in Budapest. They go to other countries, other places where they need to defend and explain their own method. They have to convince the parents. And I don't think they're prepared to do so. But guess what: we live in the age of information. It's very difficult to built a positive reputation and it's so easy to trash it.
...Conductors in Hungary got pretty used to a certain visibility of the method in Europe and the respect that they get... If you are a Hungarian Conductor moving to America to quote The Wizard of Oz 'You're not in Kansas any more'.

It was only last year that I sat down with my Mom and I explained all the things CE gave to me. It only took her 25 years to understand.
Is CE a scam? Not from my experience. But there's a lot of misinformation, very little to no research and explanation and a whole lot of attitude. I think some of it comes from Communist times, where a lot of relationships- be it doctor-patient, salesperson-customer, administrative worker-citizen were built around the disproportionate difference in the position of the parties, when one has the power and the other has to endure. A recent quote compared a Conductive Education sessions to the Hitler Jugend. Initially I laughed it off. But then it got me to think: maybe it's not as ridiculous, maybe we Europeans are just more likely to submit? After all Americans often challenge authority and often bring up their Constitutional Rights....
I certainly think CE is failing the parents by not communicating, by structuring a dependency-like relationship instead of dialogue. It's certainly failing its own legacy by thinking that people will just come to it if it's there, by not defending its image, by not being transparent, by not producing volumes and volumes of papers and books on the subject. Because if its supporters stay quiet, its opposition most certainly will not.
Read Ralph's complete posting: 

Nothing that has not been said a thousand times before, and even from time to time written. Nothing that individuals, conductors and others, have not tried to combat over the years. So why still a problem. Is part of the answer, just part, that this is a message that many do not want to hear?


Strzałkowski, R. (2014) Is Conductive Education a scam? Lawyer on Wheels, 10 March

Sutton, A. (2014) Conductive Education is a scam – discuss, Conductive World, 2 March

1 comment:

    Lily Mira Auer and and Ralph Strzełkowski: