Tuesday, 31 January 2017

I'M NO ANGEL (repeat)

A mother's words

Well worth a further airing

Maybe this has to do with the fact that I'm not exactly an angel myself

We'll begin by saying that I'm the mother of a daughter who has special needs. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, I want my truth in bare feet: 
– No, I haven't been graced with special 'angel-like' traits, although that is what people have been telling me. 
–  Her name is Shahaf [Seagull]; she cannot fly, or walk either. 
– When I look at her I see an unsolved maze, with challenging entrances and countless warning signals 
– When I feed her or dress her, I still imagine that she is an infant. When I pick her up out of her wheelchair, her weight reminds me how old she really is. 
– When she types vigorously on the computer keyboard, I imagine that really soon she will be a circuit engineer. And then I remind myself that she simply enjoys the sound. 
– When she is moving or repeating sounds, I still don't know if it does her good or not. The very lack of knowledge makes me think.
– When she hugs her little sister tightly, I feel like sending her into time-out in her room the same as her siblings. But I swallow my anger, take pity on her – and try not to pity myself. 
– When I raise my voice to her, I know it's not healthy. As for the neighbors: I'm not sure that this will make them think the better of me.
– For the past twelve years, I have learned not to give a damn AT ALL!
– When she was away from home during the period of the surgery, I couldn't imagine my life without her; although… several hours later… my powers of imagination returned. 
– On ordinary days I don't take my eyes off her... Although... the idea of making her disappear for a few moments from my line of vision and range of hearing doesn't feel like such a failing. 
– I am raising her with love, not because 'I'm impressed with how large the challenge is', but because 'She is what came out of my belly'. 
– She won't marry… not the end of the world, considering the outrageous prices of dresses these days. 
– If anyone should dare to harm her, he'd better take his last breath.
– If I'd have had the chance, I could have chosen my own challenges myself. 
– What I have written is correct only for me and my thoughts.
– I'm sure that the other parents are absolute angels.
Written by Ifat Ohad 
Translated into English by Dova Aroety
Ifat published these words in Hebrew on her blog, in December 2012, and it has also appeared in this form on Tsad Kadima's parents' blog.

When I first read Dova's English translation as published here I could not help but wonder whether the Hebrew original had been written as a poem.

I asked. It was not. I can, however, easily imagine its passing as poetry if read aloud at a poetry club in England.

This was first published in this English translation in Conductive World, four years ago:

I still find that I hear it as poetry.



My thanks again to Rony Schenker for putting me in touch.

Monday, 30 January 2017


Cerebral palsy

NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has published its first national guideline on cerebral palsy.

Everyone in the UK involved with children and adults under 25 with cerebral palsy, and their families, may wish to have this document. In effect it will indicate and perhaps constrain the understandings and practical services to be found within the NHS:

The guideline’s recommendations include multidisciplinary care; managing feeding and drooling problems; supporting speech, language, and communication; assessing and managing pain, distress, and sleep disturbances; managing other comorbidities, including mental health problems; and transitioning from pediatric to adult services.


Read NICE's full document

'Multidisciplinary care' is strongly advocated (para. 153) –

Ensure that the child or young person with cerebral palsy has access to a local integrated core multidisciplinary team that:
  • is able to meet their individual needs within agreed care pathways
  • can provide the following expertise, as appropriate, through a local network of care:
    • paediatric or adult medicine
    • nursing care
    • physiotherapy
    • occupational therapy
    • speech and language therapy
    • dietetics
    • psychology
  • can enable access to other services within their local or regional network as appropriate, including:
    • paediatric or adult neurodisability, neurology, neurorehabilitation, respiratory, gastroenterology and surgical specialist care
    • orthopaedics
    • orthotics and rehabilitation services
    • social care
    • visual and hearing specialist services
    • teaching support for preschool and school-age children, including portage (home teaching services for preschool children).
Referral to 'voluntary organisations' is suggested for those seeking further information (para 1.18.3)

The word 'learn' occurs frequently, but only in the context of the term 'learning difficulties'.

Readers might like to seek out the some other important words for themselves and consider the implications of what they find:
  • therapy
  • treatment
  • family/families
  • community/communities
  • teach
  • conductive
  • education
There is a lot more in there to look for.

And Conductive Education?

Conductive Educaiom is not mentioned. In this context Conductive Education does not exist
  • at one level this is hardly surprising, as education for children and young adults is not and should not be the concern of health agencies
  • on the other hand, complete omission indicate the limited degree to which the implications of Conductive Education and relevant events of the last thirty or so years have made discernible impact
Note that in August-September last year the draft version of this report was out to consultation with all organisations registered as 'stakeholders'.
Adults next

NICE is currently developing an additional guideline on the management of CP in adults. Its expected publication date is January 2019.

Interesting word, 'management'!

Not just in the UK

NICE in an internationally respected source of authoritative information, its guidelines being widely recognised around the world.

It is worth noting that Carolina Henriques' news report that prompted this posting was published from Dallas, Texas.


Henriques, C (2017) UK’s NICE publishes first guideline on cerebral palsy to improve diagnosis, treatment, 27 January

NICE (2017) Cerebral Palsy in under 25s: assessment and management, National Institute for Care and Health Excellence, 25 February
Conductive Education Information

I picked up news of this report from Gill Maguire's library and information blog, a useful source of current awareness in the information-starved world of Conductive Education. Keep your own eye on it:

Sunday, 29 January 2017


From Ivan Yuen-wang Su in Hong Kong

How the world of Conductive Education looks from Hong Kong, in an overview from 2012 (Ivan's thinking will of course have moved forward since then).

This is in the form of one of Ivan's much respected lecture presentations (just the PowerPoint, I am afraid, I do not have the text of what he actually said):

恭喜發財 – Gong hay fat choy


Friday, 27 January 2017


Or wanting to employ one?

On Conductive World Market, Eszter Borbás writes –

Dear Conductors,

It is important to check your contract carefully before signing anything and it can be useful to talk to fellow conductors who live and work in the country you plan on going to - especially if you are considering moving far away from home.

Such good basic advice. It should go without saying.

Always check, not just about the proposed contract and the country but if you possibly can also about who specifically you might be working for...

And contrariwise...

Everyone thinking of employing a conductor, should always require the usual references (from previous employers, place of professional training) and welcome any other testimonials available, in the usual way.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017


For a funding agency

From New Zealand, Melissa Barry's review on Conductive Education for the Accident Compensation Corporation is actually a review of empirical outcome evaluations in English, with a little consideration of the 'grey literature'. Its very careful conclusions include:
  •  ...the quality of available literature has not changed since 2003. (p. 18)
  • Analysis of the academic peer-reviewed literature does not clearly present a case for or against purchasing CE programmes... as a specific programme itself the evidence for it is poor. (p. 18)
  • The current recommendation cannot be changed based on the evidence alone, as it is unlikely, for this specific research question, that the quality and consistency of evidence is likely to change in the near future (p. 18)
  • Both the MoH and the MoE  consider CE as no better or worse than other programmes (p. 20)
  • ...the recommendation for Conductive Education Programmes in children with Cerebral Palsy is to: Purchase on a case by case basis. (p. 20) 

Perhaps NZ CE has been buzzing with this over the last few months and may be already well on the way to formulating how it will be responding.

Outside the Conductive Education bubble, however,  researchers, policy-makers, clinicians, administrators, special educationalists do communicate. CE's friends and foes alike will be aware of this new research review over the months and years to come, and incorporate their interpretation of this into their own decision-making and public positions.

Meanwhile, further information n is being sought (pp. 19-20). I do hope that the CE people in New Zealand will  include themselves in this exercise, and communicate the fruits of their considerations to the rest of the world of Conductive Education.

Meanwhile, users or potential users of Conductive Education, conductors and all whose livelihood depends upon CE, plus others with legitimate concerns for its well-being, might like to get started for themselves with the full document:


I should add that Appendix 9, the anonymously authored external peer review (pp. 39-40) is very well worth a read.

(Revised 08.02.17)


Barry. M. (2016) Evidence update: Conductive Education in children with cerebral palsy, ACC, August

Saturday, 21 January 2017


Chinese New Year begins Sunday

The artist, Kwok Kai Yip

SAHK's workshops produce such accomplished art and craft. This card was painted by Kwok Kai Yip:


East meets West in CE?

Many major cities in the West will be holding public New Year celebrations over the next week of two, and Chinese families and businesses around the world will be marking the occasion. Perhaps some Western CE services may also lay on something. For the main part, however, Western Conductive Education will likely to continue to ignore what is happening in China, especially in Hong Kong, now as they have done inn the past. It will therefore remain immune to the challenging questions posed by Oriental Conductive Education, and unaware of some of the answers being elaborated in practice.

In 2010, SAHK in Hong Kong reached out a considerable hand to the West at the memorable 'Chinese Congress' (WC7). In both subsequent World Congresses, near Munich (2014) and in Budapest (2016), SAHK and other Chinese conductivists maintained the long-standing practice of a large and visible Chinese presence, presenting and learning. But what connection has 'the West' maintained over these years. What information has flowed Westwards, what has been learned 'over here'? How have Western thinking and practice been affected by awareness of the Chinese experience.

Not a lot, I suspect, if any. I could of course be wrong over this: perhaps there is plenty happening and I am just out of the loop. Or perhaps Hong Kong and China have already been closely and critically examined and it has been concluded that Western CE is developing satisfactorily under its own momentum, doing very well thank you, theoretically and practically – and needs no help from 'outside', from anywhere.

A small request

All the same it would be interesting to see an overview or two of Oriental Conductive Education. Help the West to share some of this experience:
  • direct account of Chinese families' experience of this approach
  • a descriptive geography to indicate something of the size (better, the sheer size) of this phenomenon
  • a methodological text or two to indicate what is actually done
  • an academic research review to indicate what is being evaluated and what the outcomes are.
Quite possibly such materials are already available, on line. OK, these may be published only in Cantonese or Mandarin, but that is a problem for would-be readers. Share links anyway.

The Year of the Rooster is a as good a time as any time for sharing references – and especially URLs – that might help enlarge the rest-of the-world's window on the conductive East...

Wednesday, 18 January 2017


Where Buddy Bear still hangs on by a thread

Latest news is a petition:

So, with all this broad public, political support, how much good will does it take to achieve serious consideration of what the parents are asking for...? What kind of ill will does it take to oppose this?

Sod's Law...

Today this petition will be delivered to the Chief Executive of the Education Authority NI, and to the First Minister of the Northern Ireland Assembly:

Unfortunately, the Northern Ireland Assembly has just been suspended as part of the latest political impasse there. There will be a snap election on 2 March.

An opportunity...

Six weeks for Buddy Bear to blow up an election issue.

Most recent posting on Ireland


It is not just in the North. As remarked here before, there seems to be an all-Ireland problem.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017


Addition to New Zealand family of CE services

Ryan Griffin

The proposed new CE centre in Taranaki in New Zealand may be open in March:

Now the hard work is almost ready to begin, the long haul!

Previous report here on Conductive World on this classic family-to-centre story:

Sunday, 15 January 2017


On Conductive Education

Please correct me if I am wrong but the event on the video linked to below represents the last time in which a major political figure in the United Kingdom, indeed a major public figure of any kind in that country, spoke enthusiastically about Conductive Education.

Why? What has changed since? And does it really matter?

Follow this link back to  to 2009 , to hear what Mr Cameron said:



In Hungarian

Formal abstracts in English:

Special education's two decisive Marias: Maria Montessori and Mária Hári

This study presents the decisive pedagogy of two Marias: Dr. Montessori and Dr. Hári. Dr. Montessori was the first woman in Italy who received a medical degree and it was many years later when she did pedagogical studies as well. Dr. Hári was a young medical student when she started to work with Professor Pető who had laid down the basics of Conductive Education. Dr. Montessori and Dr. Hári had a lot in common: not just their profession was the same but thanks to their hard work both pedagogies became famous internationally. Through their personality the reader will have a glance into their educational methods as well. The topic is relevant because both educational systems make it possible for people with disabilities to integrate into society and live a meaningful life.

Everyday activities to help integration in Pethő Institute in Hungary and abroad

This paper will present András Pető, the father of conductive pedagogy, his method and his institute. His new rehabilitation method gave a chance to motor-disordered children and adults to learn how to adjust into society and cope with daily challenges in spite of their physical disadvantage. He established his institute after World War II in 1945, and the institute was named after him and became nationally and internationally well-known as the Pető Institute.



Oravecz, A. (2016) A gyógypedagógia két meghatározó Máriája: Maria Montessori és Hári Mária, Különleges Bánásmód, II. évf. 2016/4. szám, 35-47

Oravecz, A. (2015): A Pető Intézet Integrációt segítő mindennapos tevékenysége itthon és külföldön, Különleges Bánásmód, I. évf. 2015/4. szám, 49-64

Thursday, 12 January 2017


I chased a wild goose
And caught a red herring

Google Scholar threw me up this link (recounting the fate of Hungarian psychoanalysis during the Fascist period in Hungary in the last century). I read –

The two principal destinations of emigration were to the United States and Australia. Visas to Australia were given to András Pető and Elisabeth Kardos, as well as to Clara Lázár-Gerő, her husband and son...

Hello, what's this? Here's an unexpected twist. I has thought that András Pető did not think too highly of psychoanalysis. I had this on no less authority that one of Peter Popper's reminiscences (see pages 109-110 0f Judit Forrai's collection)! 

Pető is a common enough Hungarian surname and András in different forms is a common Hungarian personal name.

This Dr András Pető (sometimes Endre) was around the same age, went briefly to Paris in 1938, then spent the War years in Budapest. He is well documented, however, and was easily revealed as someone quite else:

His wife and co-worker Erzsébet Kardos, psychoanalyst and paediatrician, was murdered by the Arrow Cross in Budapest just a few days before the liberation of the city. Endre survived, emigrated to New York and practised there as Andrew Peto, later serving as President of the New York Psychoanalytic Society.

(p. 105, n. 45)


Mézáros, J. (1998) The tragic success of European psychoanalysis: the 'Budapest school', International Forum of Psychoanalysis, vol. 7, no 4, pp. 207-214

Wednesday, 11 January 2017


A five-year follow-up

 Luke Kelly Melia and his assistance dog, a golden retriever called Aidan, at home at Oldcastle, Co. Meath. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
Luke and Aiden
Five years ago Conductive World mentioned the case of Luke Kelly-Melia, a boy with cerebral palsy then in his final year of primary schooling in Co. Cavan in the Irish Republic. His school had refused permission for him to talk Aiden, his stability dog, with him to school pending the outcome of its internal procedures (the school's, not the dog's). His parents withdrew Luke from the school for the rest of the school year and home-schooled him:

Luke's story prompted a further newspaper article at the time, a newspaper comment on the benefits of 'assistance dogs' from a neuropsychologist:

The academic reference that this article gives may be of some general interest but was not directly relevant to the problem of Luke and his family, which was of a social not a psychological nature.

How did things turn out for Luke at secondary school? I do not know what happened over the dog but there seems to have been no further breakdown in Luke's attendance and he is now in his final year of schooling.

Last year Luke was awarded the sum of 5,500 Euros by the Workplace Relations Committee. The Committee ruled that:

...his former primary school discriminated against him on disability grounds by refusing to allow him bring his assistance dog into the school.

[The Commission] ordered the school to redraft its policies to ensure it complied with the law... [and] report to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) on the progress on this within a year.

This heartening item is well worth reading in full. It rather restores one's faith.

Luke and his dog are still together.

And Conductive Education?

The posting in Conductive World five years ago was headed 'No country for conductors…...'

Five years later I think that there is still no conductive service operating in the Irish Republic, not publicly at least. If right, I suspect that that the Republic is the only European country to have seen conductive practices begin to establish bridgeheads in the usual Western way, out of the hope, hard work and initiative of parents – only then to see the forces of reaction triumph and clear the land of what they seemed to regard as poisonous...  

Hainji Kele's Facebook comments at the time are worth considering:


Luke's personal victory suggest that Ireland is becoming a more just place for those with disabilities. Perhaps the country now offers kinder ground for Conductive Education to try again. Forget the legend of Patrick and the snakes: take heart instead from the story of his ash staff.

Conductive Education has all taken a very long time in Ireland. It not too late for something new to take root.

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