Tuesday, 20 December 2016


A real problem

Conductive Education is often touched upon in theses and dissertations in universities in the Western world. What is written can be disasterously wrong!

Should tutors/supervisors know something about the contents of the studies that they are supervising, or be there solely for questions of methodology. My own view is that, if they are worth their salt, they will take serious interest and provide the student a model of checking on everything that is included in the study. If they had done so over the years a lot of codswallop would have had to face up to some much needed challenge. But I know, there has been so little time in so many universities actually to deliver the academic services that their students are paying so much for.

I was reminded today (by Facebook's anniversary bring-up service) of an old PhD dissertation (part requirement) that I had mentioned before, in a blog of 19 December 2012.

Conductive Education introduced

Its very topic was a stunner, of which more below. Its brief introductory mentions of Conductive Education add up to a scholarly stinker de stinkers'.

A Brain Injured person is defined as someone who began to develop a normal brain but later suffered an injury to the brain which resulted in the damage of one or more brain cells
(page 1)

Historical Background:
...With the passage of time, treatments have been and are being developed, which may vary from organization to organization.

In Hungary, the organization now called the Andras Peto Institute for Motor Disorders, - ( address, Kutvolgyi ut 6, Budapest XH, Hungary H-1125 ), was founded by Dr. Andras Peto in 1952. In 1968, a state decree made physicians throughout Hungary responsible for the registration of all children with motor disorders, - ( disorders resulting in problems with movement and mobility, because of damage to areas of the brain ), at the Peto Institute. Details of the Peto programmes are summarized in a Conductive Education Fact Sheet available from Scope, (previously called The Spastics Society) , 12 Park Crescent, London WI N 4EQ, phone 0171 636 5020, fax 0171 436 2601. The Peto programme has now spread to institutes in the United Kingdom, including Birmingham.
(page 13, in the Appendices)

1.1.3 Brain Injury Institutions
There are many organisations that treat brain injured children world wide. Among them are three prominent institutions. These are:
  1. The Peto Andras Institute for the Conductive Education of the Motor Disordered in Hungary (PAICEMD), which was founded by Dr. A. Peto in 1952 (originally known as the National Motor Therapy Institute) although his work was only officially recognised in 1963...

  2. The Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential (AlAHP) in the United States of America founded by Dr. G. Doman in 1962. AIAHP was founded to promote the Doman-Delacato method of therapy (known in the U K as the bench method) which was developed by Glen Doman and Carl Delacato...

  3. The British Institute for Brain Injured Children (BIB1C) in the United Kingdom...
    (page 3)
1.1.4 Available Treatment
The methods devised by these prominent institutes for imparting remedial treatment to brain injured patients are largely manual, using simple aids whenever possible to assist with carrying out the desired techniques. Presently, the most frequent methods of treatment used are Doman-Delacato (bench method) and Conductive Education. Most of the other methods of treatment are based on the following outlined methods.
(page 4)
Conductive Education Conductive Education is a teaching and learning system designed to enable children and adults with disabilities to function more independently. It was developed in Hungary, but British therapists and teachers have used elements of the system for over 20 years. Conductive education may be appropriate for children and adults who have motor disorders. In other words, those who have problems with movement because of damage to areas of the central nervous system that is responsible for organising motor functions. Although this method may not be suitable for everyone and it is not a cure for their condition, but it may still enable them to overcome their disorders and function independently.
(page 5)

The objective of this review was to establish the number of research centres active in the rehabilitation area of patterning brain injured patients and to analyse the machines available that closely deal with the physical movements of the patient. The Doman Delacato method or simply the bench method, and the Conductive Education method were carefully studied.
(page 18)

At present there are no rehabilitation mechatronics or robotics systems dealing with patterning brain injured patients available to the general public. The present treatment is largely manual including the Conductive Education method and the Doman Delacato method often referred to as the bench method.
(page 19) Conductive Education Development
This technique of conductive education is widely adopted by the Peto Institute where each child attends several sessions during a two week visit to the centre. At the centre all children will be working in small groups supervised by a conductor (a highly trained remedial treatment health care specialist). Due to the nature of conductive education the daily routine will vary between the groups of patients. Each child's daily routine will include several series of tasks carried out in different positions, lying position, sitting position and standing-walking positions. All these positions are not a set of separate programmes, but rather they are inter-linked and to be applied in activities throughout the day. This idea is based on the fact that normal healthy children take part in educational activities as they use skills they have previously learned. The group activities also play a part in building and developing the personalities and social skills of brain injured children. Therefore conductive education is mainly based on the self esteem of the patient by giving the child an achievable goal that with some effort can be achieved. It is therefore, the author's decision to use the Doman-Delacato method (bench method) rather than the conductive education method, because the input aspects of Doman-Delacato method are passive in nature and do not require the brain injured patient to put any considerable efforts during the input session. Note, however that the output session can be at first assisted and later unassisted, thus requiring the patient to put into practice the therapy imposed during the input session.
(page 25)

What was it all about?

1.1.5 Proposed Solution
The existing manual method of treatment is a labour intensive technique that requires a team of up to five people to carry out the patterning for an average sized patient and a team of three persons for a patient of a small size (6 months to two years old). Since humans can not carry out the techniques with the accuracy and efficiency needed to achieve favourable results and the fact that finding at least four helpers at one time on a regular basis is often difficult if not impossible. This research program proposes to carry out the existing method of patterning with a machine using the technological advances in the fields of Mechatronics and robotics. This Pattemer Machine shall carry out the techniques of patterning that were specified by the British Institute for Brain Injured Children with some modifications, i.e. the machine shall provide real creep and crawl movements. This invention aims to provide mechanised manipulation [Kavina. 92] of body joints associated with major muscle groups for brain injured patients to compensate for muscle and nerve incapacitation. It is also set to provide new stimulated information to the healthy cells of patient's brain through effective and controllable continuous joint activation. Kavina, 96 has proposed the use of conveyor belts as a possible solution and replacement for the currently manual bench method.
(page 5)

Luckily for CE, as the extract presented above from page 25 indicates, the author eliminated Conductive Education from his actual study, and it was therefore spared further attention along these lines. I do not think that it has attracted this line of enquiry since then.


I kid you not. None of this is a Christmas spoof. I do not make such things up. I merely report them from where they sit in permanent plain sight for all to read, in the public domain.

I o wonder whether it is in bad taste to quote and cite this innocent piece of student work. But there is a dilemma here, a choice that has to be made, not just about student work. In 2016 I come out increasingly in favour of standing up explicitly for Conductive Education (and many other things) against the popular wave of misinformation and confusion. Perhaps I should remain silent, reluctant to offend, but I too am human, Do I not bleed? Perhaps I and others should more readily respond to our feeling of offence at what is said and done with respect to things that we hold dear.

I do not blame the student here. Such a situation is far less likely to arise nowadays. Under a new and binding Code of Practice in the UK a study that crosses discipline boundaries as this one did, the university is required to ensure specialist overview from the relevant field, by bringing in a second supervisor from a relevant field. Such multidisciplinary supervision is now quite common practice.

Of course, with Conductive Education, one may still potentially meet the problem with respect to Conductive Education, that the academic knowledge brought in may still be widely off key – but that is a further question!

Onwards and upwards, I hope – albeit slowly...


Lasebae, A. R. (1999) Investigation of a mechatronic device for the remedial treatment of brain injured children (Thesis submitted to Middlesex University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy), London, University of Middlesex

No comments:

Post a Comment