Friday, 12 June 2015


Gill Maguire rolls the stone

At the end of May Conductive World reported the appearance of a remarkable new online resource. Special Needs Jungle has come to an arrangement with patientINFORM to cut through what for most of us is an impassible financial barrier so as to be able to read articles in usually pay-only medical journals free of charge:

This seemed just too good to be true, so Conduction's Librarian Gill Maguire set out to put it to the test. Now, she is delighted to report, it really IS true:

Something of genuine worth, accessible to all, at absolutely no cost – and it is not even Christmas. Use this service well, use it wisely, and do not abuse it. With the obvious proviso that this facility covers only medical journals, there now less excuse for not consulting relevant, published technical literature.

Use it

To use this service, fill in the form to be found at:

You can also join SNJ there (this is free too) and, if you are involved in any way with 'special educational needs and disability' in England, informative and interesting in its own right.

Gill's choice

To test the system Gill had of course to make an enquiry. For this she chose an article that was an important document in the history of Conductive Education – pivotal for two reasons, one good, one bad. Because this article has been cut off behind a pay-wall, however, many of those involved in Conductive Education nowadays may not have actually seen it.

Gill chose the pivotal article published by the late Ester Cotton at the dawn of international awareness of Conductive Educatation.

Cotton, E (1965) The Institute for Movement Therapy and School for ‘Conductors’, Budapest, Hungary, Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, vol.7, no 4, pp. 37-446

  • This article was pivotal first because it launched András Pető's work, previously virtually unknown, into the English-speaking world, and did do with the authority of a leading international paediatric journal – with the credibility and momentum that this can confer.
  • Secondly, it was pivotal because of what Ester Cotton did next.
SNJ provides links both to the formal abstract and to the full text of this article, by linking directly into crystal-clear, downloadable PDFs in the publishers' otherwise pay-walled website:

It is interesting to read this fifty-years-old article in 2015, now that most of the dust has settled. Those who know nothing of Ester Cotton's subsequent career will have the easiest task because without preconception they will be reading a fascinating field-work report of the State Institute, made towards the end of András Pető's life. Would that such contemporary documents were more common! Had I come across this article for the first time today I should rejoice at my find. If you wish to share a visitor's awe, admiration and puzzlement, then I cannot recommend a better account.

Looking back, however, through what Ester Cotton did next, it is hard not to be teleological, for this was also the start of her long struggle to establish a 'multidisciplinary' practice, comprising the work of therapists, schoolteachers and care-workers. This established a tangential development that has arguably undermined attempts in various parts of the world to establish Conductive Education as a serious alternative to dominant models of understanding and providing for motor disorders.

Now, thanks to Special Needs Jungle, those looking to unpick such questions for themselves may more readily go back to original sources.

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