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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Time, balance and living

This week I read my friend’s blog about Facebook and communication. He came to the conclusion that it actually makes us passive and will close his account soon

That made me think: could I? and more importantly, did I want to?

Apart from being an addict, I enjoy Facebook. I enjoy not always having to be active to know what happens in the lives of people I know and love. For me, it’s a time factor.

Having lived in a few countries, I’ve had to leave behind considerate amount of people I truly love. I have to say I am still glad that I have some contact with a lot of them, and I know that when it’s time to meet up I can just click on their Facebook and make arrangements. That is what happened when I went to Germany about a month ago. With some I have regular message exchange, and sometimes I am lucky to catch them online at the same time and have a chat.

I used to have pen pals when I was younger. After a while the contact would become less frequent and mostly die. But then once in a while it would start up again, and I was glad that the contact wasn’t lost forever. My friend from Grade 1 with whom I still have contact with is used to not hearing from me for a while, sometimes even years. But the strength of friendship is such that you can pick it back up again; even without being in touch for a while.

I also enjoy clicking on links to blogs and articles mostly of a professional kind. It’s quick and easy to access, so another plus point for saving time.

I have thought about time quite a lot lately. When we went to Germany, we had little time to see and spent time with my family and friends. We had hardly time to sleep and I ended up with some killer migraines, which left me with even less quality time for catching up with everybody.

It seems like time comes with a balance. If you start neglecting one area of yourself, another area will start to crumble too. The fight to find and maintain this balance seems to be the most important struggle in life. You have balance when you have time for the things you like (i.e. hobbies) and the things that are necessary but not always fun (i.e. cleaning). Of course, sometimes those areas can overlap.

However, my grade-one friend in Germany, told me that she has hired a cleaning lady. No, this friend is not made of money. She is a bio-chemistry grad student and a mom of a two-year-old. She decided that she wants to spend the limited time she has doing things she likes (i.e. spending it with her daughter) instead of cleaning. And she is very happy with her choice of maintaining balance.

When I first arrived in BC, I spent a lot of time building up my business by actively making contacts, reading articles of various topics and regularly writing on my blog. Fortunately I had some time for my passion (yoga), too. At the time my partner was still living in Winnipeg and I lived at a friend’s place, which meant I had to spend very little time maintaining our place. When my partner moved to BC, I lost some of the time I used to have to build up my business; but after a few weeks, we found a good balance.

About nine months ago we adopted a puppy and there was even less time for building up a business or even for my hobbies. Right now, I haven’t got my balance back; but I am working on it. And I feel I am seeing the silver lining on this one. My point is that our priority change with the different things life throws at you. It takes a while to find that balance again.

How does that relate to CE you might wonder? I think it does in two very different ways.

Firstly, during our training we were pushed quite hard to keep up to a certain time frame and got in trouble more than once (or maybe that was just me?) for not sticking to it or even sometimes sticking too much to it. We had to learn that pushing the tasks through is one thing, but teaching new skills was another. There were a lot of conductors who thought that quality (the teaching part) was more important then the quantity (the sole task series). At the same time, I think, if we wouldn’t have been pushed to keep to the time line and task series we wouldn’t have learned how to cram so many teaching opportunities in every minute of our session. In my professional career so far, I have been fighting with that balance. I am still fighting with it; as every member of the group(i.e. parent/spouse, participant, assistant, other conductor or professionals) will upset this balance, and it takes a while to find it again. The good news is that once you find it, you know how to more easily recreate it.

Secondly, it’s the participant and their families who most often have problems finding balance between creating learning opportunity and time to just live for all members of the family. They are inundated exercises, equipment to use during the day, therapy or sessions and doctors appointments and more. Time becomes very precious and the days are too short to do everything. To make it all worse, different professional will recommend different things. No surprise that families feel often overwhelmed.

I am afraid we conductors, especially in the beginning, sometimes, add to this. We recommend different uses of furniture or what to practice (which mostly looks like exercises). I am try to emphasize that most things should be practiced as part of a routine. For example when standing up from a chair, to make sure, to put weight on both legs. When playing with their children they should play with purpose, e.g. the child has to work on standing: play in a standing position. This way it comes part of what any person at that age would do anyway. And in a way it crams learning opportunities in every minute of everyday life, what has come to be known as “conductive living.”

However, some people are just looking for concrete stuff, like doing certain stretches or exercises and that’s fine. They might come around to conductive living eventually; but then again they might not. In the end, it might not be what they needed to maintain the balance of their own lives and families.

Still, in my opinion, teaching a family with a child or adult with a disability how to achieve this balance (while not killing themselves) is actually the most valuable tool we can teach.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Group. Dynamic. Motivation.

This year I run my first summer camp in BC. Two weeks with three kids and I loved every single bit of it. And so did the kids. I see two out of them individually once every week. Working with them individually or in a group is completely different. Why?? Well that’s different from kid to kid.

V- the only boy in the group is way more easy going then at home. At home we work a lot on strategies for his mom to deal with his behavior issues. There, I have seen him working on his best and on his worst. I have been shown the door by him a few times ( sometimes I barely stepped through it). In the end I have left every time on my own terms with him finishing what I have asked him to do. Sometimes that meant we could play, dance around lava, trick a shark and sometimes that meant to calm down and sit till we are in the right state of mind.

His mom was having a hard time with conflicting advice. When what to do, was and is her biggest struggle. And it is hard. Upbringing is about balance. Balance between rules and having a good time. As an up-bringer you work on this balance every day. Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don’t.

But we are working in looking for his motivations behind his actions. He sometimes shouts, throws shoes and tries to grab you as he having a tantrum and tries to catch your attention. Then don’t give to him. In group he learned this way fairly quickly to calm himself down and joined back in the group activity.

He sometimes shouts and tries to grab someone because he wants to help or he overexcited. Then it’s important to pay him attention and praise him for trying to help or recognize he is happy but he should sit back regardless. To judge the situation it takes knowledge of the kid and his emotions. But you have to be careful to not make excuses for your kid. If it’s having a tantrum let it have it and then talk to it.

He made some important improvements during the camp and the consistency dealing with him while still having expectations on him, made him feel at ease. The experience of the camp will help me to teach mom better as she knew it worked. And sometimes that’s just what it takes to bring changes in the family by showing changes with their kid is possible and attainable.

Mo. Well, Mo. She is superstar. I have not seen her for about half a year. I usually do not see her individually. To be honest I don’t think I could bring a lot of change at home as her parents are very good in following through with what has been done and adjusting it conductively to their way of living. But since I have seen her last and now, she seems to be a different child. She remembered the group from March camp and straight away lit up. She loves working in this group. A child who hardly shows any emotions, giggles and laughs at the right places. She really feeds of the clapping and cheering of the whole group. It was really easy to teach her knew skills because we would cheer like crazy when she got it right. She would love that so much that she would seize to repeat it. Again and again and again. Her verbalizing was just amazing. She not only makes noises now to get something (which in itself is a miracle) but she will also try to form the correct sounds with her lips. She would try to get your attention when she wanted something and boy, when she wanted something she would try anything to get it.

One of the huge developments of the camp was, that she started to take her assistant to the bathroom when she needed to go. This has been huge for her and her family as she so far been only trip trained with intermediate success. We additionally have been working on using picture exchange to express that she needs the bathroom and this also seemed to be going pretty well.

Last but not least Ma. I see her on a weekly basis. I have seen her mother interact with her and seen that she is very conductive in her upbringing anyway but just needs some ideas and tricks to work on certain skills. I usually work with her by myself and share with her mom afterwards what we have been working on. She has shown steadily progress with her skills. At home she tends to loose her concentration and motivation quite quickly, not so much during the group program. In fact, it was great to observe how she applied spontaneously skills we have been working on during the last couple of month. We managed to even push a bit further with our work. Considering she had little control or awareness of her right foot half a year ago, she now can walk with her toes up. Amazing. The group is doing her so good. Her mother run a daycare during the summer. Ma spent the day with the little kids and it was to observe that her level of maturity shrank to the level of the little guys group. It was very hard to get her to focus or do anything those weeks. However, in the CE group, she was very keen to lead by example and did fantastic.

This shows how important the right group is and how to use the group dynamic to bring out the best part of each individuals personality. In the place I worked before, we had the luxury of a lot of different groups and could place the participant where we thought they could grow most. One of the client I ever turned down without trying them out in a group, I knew would not work in the group the parents wanted (which was the summer program). Yes, I think that CE could have made a different but not in the available group and with not my at that point, abilities to keep a group together. Even the kids in this groups were all very different with very different diagnosis and abilities, I knew those will make an awesome working group. I am very glad my conductor instincts proved me right.

I think, I would not necessary made the same decision coming straight out of University. The reason I knew it would work is because I have seen a group with a similar variety work before. Who knows, in a couple of years I might not turn down a kid working in a similar group, like I did back then.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I have mentioned before that working with the individuals at home shows parts of a family dynamic you usually do not see. Some positive ones, some not so positive ones

I have learned and still learning where the boundaries are for me being able to do a different and where I am not the right professional or person. Personally, this always has been hard as I like helping people. My very grounded partner keeps reminding me you cannot fix everybody. In my conductor head I always want to disagree. Why not, there must be a way. My consistently changing understanding of life and living keeps telling me maybe there isn't one, not at the moment at least. Sometimes, all we can do is offering what we can and if its not wanted or needed at that time, we shouldn't take it personally.

My friend who recently graduated from med school and worked with Families with different backgrounds told me what she been taught: Never give advise as the families know best what is good for them. Listen and guide them, they will find their own answer that works best for their own situation.

I have been thinking about that for a while and always amazed how truly conductive this thinking is. As a fix-a-holic I know that this is a lesson i still have to learn.

Today, i was in this situation. I tried to offer my help by listening but one party of the family did not want to talk about it. My gut straight away made me aware of the different emotions involved. And I this was nothing I could help resolve. In fact I felt my whole presence made it worse.

I know my client has really enjoyed our sessions and the gain of it you could see in his movements and eyes. But right now, it seems better that the issues need to be resolved by the family first- without me. My client, who has severe aphasia tried to communicate that to me. I respect that. I know or I hope they will get in touch when they feel they are ready again on their own terms and own time.

I always been aware that there are something in the family dynamic that causes some sorts of distress but they didn't want to tell and I had no right to dig. I was not there for that.

Lisa in her blog talked about suitability for CE and I think those situation is quite fitting. Right now, its not what they need. Maybe sometime in the future, however long that might be away.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The ones we met, the ones we lost.

Since I have graduated about 5 years ago I have met a whole lot of amazing people. Unfortunately, I have also mourned the loss of a few of those people, too. Now, a few weeks ago, I had news that one of my former clients has passed away.

The last time I saw her, she was in good spirits, she was ready to improve herself step by step and don’t let the MS get in the way of her living life. Moreover, she wished me good luck starting up new in BC and was also emphasizing how much she would miss me and she rather not see me go. We also decided that day that we have indeed over the years we known and worked with each other, have become friends.

I remember telling her how much I was looking forward to see all those improvements when I return. Both of us were in good spirits about the future. A few weeks later I heard she had a Stroke. Then I heard she has been hospitalized and that’s the last news I had.

When I met her first she was not even sure she had MS. She had some symptoms but she said she wasn’t sure. In the beginning we had no other people to work with. So she had a lot of individual attention. We worked through a lot of frustration and other emotional baggage and of course achieved a lot of success moving forward. I was able to earn her trust and she would always ask my advice on anything that involved her rehabilitation. She introduced me a lot of different things and gave me her first hand experience, which I have treasured and passed on when I felt it would be helpful.

She had a pretty hard year with lots of attacks and has been hospitalized a couple of times. But as mentioned she was back on the horse and ready to tackle whatever mountain would come up next. Her spirit was sooo alive and in my head she still is. She told me she is done with all the naj-sayers and appreciated my positive attitude towards living and learning.

Over the years she learned to control her inner Hertense (that’s what she called herself, when she forgot to breath and believe. And when the frustration got the best of her.). We used to laugh about that name a lot even though it was a very touchy subject but we just shared that knowledge it was ok. We also knew that with discovering Hertense, she actually has learned to be a master at self-awareness and self-control. I was happy to know that I had contributed to that self-recovery.

Last week I used her example of the discovery of her Hertense with one of my other client (with slightly watery eyes- but I don’t think my clients noticed because I smiled it away) to teach about self-awareness and control. The story was very much appreciated and I think brought across my point. I quietly send appreciation to her and what she has taught me.

Her death, made me think of my other clients I have lost and who wont be easily forgotten at least not by me.

The girl who had a lot of medical problems and most people involved in her live had little expectation. Her mother was always so appreciative of us trying things and she appreciated it too with a huge smile.

The little boy who died of a rare illness that was completely unrelated to his Cerebral Palsy. It broke my heart watching and sensing his parents pain when they buried him. Nevertheless, they only had kind words for us at the funeral even though they were in so much pain. They are truly the most giving and kind people I know. The summer before he attended our summer camp. He made us cry with laughter as well as pulling out our hair out at his stubbornness and determination for the wrong things. We pushed him hard that summer and he made tremendous improvements. The boy who used to use his walker only as monkey bars with little weight on his feet learned to take independent steps with his canes. When we heard the sad news, one of my assistance said that he nearly wishes he wouldn’t have pushed him that hard. I had to think about it for a bit but came to the conclusion, that we did the right things. He and his family gained so much hope and momentum that summer, which they proudly showed off in their community. It brought them a lot of happiness and that’s just priceless; also it left me with no regrets as it showed me the part we can play in peoples life.

Hope, is also what we gave another elderly gentleman who battled a quite devasting progressive neurological condition for 11 years. We started to work on things that were doomed impossible and he kept moving forward not as expected backwards for the 2 or so years, we knew him. Despite his frozen facial expression you could always see his joy, happiness, hope and appreciation in his blue eyes. His wife told us how much meeting us changed him and brought him to a better place in himself. But I think we really gained from his presence and his inability to give up.

This was something my training didn't prepare me for - and no there is no blame that it didn't, just an observation- but that has touched my professional career again and again. I personally have little experience with death and nowadays it mostly happens far away from me, that it makes it unreal. As a non-religious person its hard to give comfort as I feel wrong to say: its okay he is in heaven now.

Nevertheless, as most things you figure it out. And you have to, when you share those experience with other children or adults who were part of that particular group. Most of the times, it feels as the professional you have to be the rock and be strong for everyone else. And sometimes acting comes with the job.

I am far away from being an expert in it and truly hope I never become one in that.

Strange, how sad times make you think about the happy times, and happy times about the sad ones. But I guess you cannot have one without the other or would be able to appreciate it the same way.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The "bloody furniture"*

Nothing better then having a long weekend to finish some projects. I have been working on one piece of CE furniture for some time and really happy that it’s nearly finished. In the process, I had a quick learning curve about sanding the chair, prime it and even paint a quite cute picture - despite my lacking drawing talent. I found that particular chair in the basement of my boyfriends grandma and she was so kind to give it to me. She was really happy that it will have some good use as it otherwise would have landed in the trash.

My partner also build me an adjustable floor ladder, which I have used with some of my clients and which has contributed to their learning process.

I would like to stress here, that in order to live a conductive lifestyle you do NOT need the CE furniture and I have made so far do with little of it. But in some instances it can serve as a great learning tool during the conductive program, to teach certain skills or break-downs off, I chose not to completely go without. On the other hand I do sometimes purposefully spend time with the client, thinking or assisting the thought process of what to use, in order to learn, apply or practice a certain skill. But as a teacher you some times just need to have your tools handy that you know will work, so you can spend time teaching what you intended.

Making this equipment actually has made me problem-solve and enter unknown territory. I learned overcoming some difficulties along the way, which made the process for me, challenging, at time quite meditative and very conductive.

*that's what Andrew Sutton used to call it. Not sure where to find the original quote.
PS. hope i can upload the pictures soon.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Learning the art of the CE

Before I start, let me assure you writing this blog wasn’t an easy task. I must have re-writing and corrected it a dozen times and, as I always, I recognize that I do not hold the ultimate truth to everything and especially to everything that involves CE. But this is my story to how I got to my understanding and how I have communicated it in the past.

Back at University in the UK during our second year, we were asked to prepare a 20 min presentation about what CE is. We were supposed to explain it to our fellow students and teachers CE as they never heard about it. Sounds easy??? Surely, by the second year we should know what the heck we were studying?? Well, looking back it was one of the toughest tasks we had to master and I still draw from what I learned on my way to give this presentation.

By the way, we had to give quite a few presentations as our tutors and creator of this course thought we should be able to talk publicly about CE – annoying at the time, but I am now quite thankful for it. My presentation skills have improved a lot: Some of you will be pleased to know that I stopped rocking forward and back, hardly use my notes and even try to make eye contact. But mostly that depends on the audience and yes I am still learning.

Anyway, to prepare for the presentation I read through most of the published books about CE in English and German. Especially in German I read quite frequently about the principles of Conductive Education, which referred to:

  • the conductor,
  • the task series,
  • rhythmical intention,
  • the program(also daily routine),
  • the group

and sometimes even the furniture.

According to Sutton the concept of CE principles orientated in Ester Cottons book (Funny, that I know exactly what book he is talking about but unfortunately its not in my small CE home library).

Even though we had all access to Cotton's CE principles, as far as I remember no one of us used it to describe it. I guess, it is because we didn't get CE taught in a black in white perspective; and because we wanted to look like we knew what we are talking about in front of our classmates and tutors. However, every now and then (actually more frequently lately) those principles pop back up to describe CE. In my eyes, the principles of CE according to Cotton are failing to describe the pure essence of CE. Further, the task series, the rhythmical intention, the program (or daily routine) are merrily facilitation tools available to teach certain skills. The description of the conductor read to me always like a job description – a very ambitious one for that matter. It always encouraged me to try to be a bit harder and be a bit better.

The question comes up and has come up in the past: if you do not have all of those teaching tools, resources and techniques available – even through they are pretty powerful- would you still do CE? I would like to argue that yes you do. We know that you do not necessary need a conductor to teach a conductive lifestyle, the parents with the right guidance can take over this role for their own child. If we as conductors did not believe this, why would we have parents and child groups and seek constant conversation with the parents and caregivers? Breaking down skills to make them learnable is a handy skill to have and give opportunities to practice those during the day is also important. But one can do that during their daily routine without actually following a task series or a program. At the end of the day that’s why we as conductors use task series during our program to encourage the use and application of different skills during the individuals daily life. I do not think that giving parents task series to practice with their kid is a way to encourage a conductive lifestyle. It actually estranges the individual and their family from living. To encourage the kid to hold on when riding their bike and swinging on a swing, keep their sitting balance when going sledging, moving their legs when playing soccer with their siblings and much more is living- that is conductive living. What we can do, is to show them how to break down certain skills or during which situations they can be practiced. By the way, I know when a family lives a conductive lifestyle, when they come back to me and found different way to apply those skills.

As my teacher from University used to say we do not want our clients to go through live counting. What we want them to take away is the things rhythmical intention (RI) teaches the way to organize our thoughts through speech, to slow our movement down or speed them up accordingly, to plan ahead, to learn how to use our breath effectively to move and much, much more. RI is a powerful and complex tool and helps to teach a lot of skills, but during my individual session I find myself using it less and as always only for certain purposes.

Coming back to the presentation I had to do for school. What did I do? How did I describe CE. To be honest looking back it was rather a process then a solid idea, that with the more I read and understood, changed the shape of project- quite literally. I am a quite visual person so I wanted to present CE in a kind of diagram, simple and clear. So I kept researching for the essence of CE. I read your typical CE books, at what we been taught in practice and what was taught to use during our conductive pedagogy lectures. In books I found Hari talking about techniques that unfold linear, longitudinal, spiral we used to teach. I guess that means techniques we use all the time like our observation skills; techniques that slowly increase determined of the circumstances, like techniques that build up on each other or slowly become less in use, like the use of manual, verbal and psychological facilitation. Looking at our practice I learned a lot of differentiation to suit each individual as well as the group needs, which we learn to use according to our observation skills. In our pedagogy lectures we learned the concept of how and when to use different techniques, being aware of different challenges and mostly encouraged to “think outside the box”.

First, I wanted to use my brothers magnets and sticks to build something, but due to shipping problems that idea failed. I tried to draw something but unfortunately I am not the artist of the family. So, my friend and me looked for something with linear, longitudinal, spiral structure on “google” and we came across the structure of an DNA. So that’s what I ended up using as my diagram to present CE. And it worked quite well to bring across my point, how each thing we do interlinks with another and depends on the individual we work with. Sometimes what we choose to do looks a little a bit different as the facilitation techniques vary in order to serve the individual as well as the group better or sometimes- as we do not live in perfect world - adapt to the resources we have available.

So what did I really learn about CE? That CE is complicated and simplifying it mostly denies its complexity. CE’s essence is its pedagogy– the way and the art of how we teach.

When I introduce CE to new crowds nowadays I start by explaining that it is foremost an educational approach focusing on teaching children and adults with movement disorders, skills that are relevant in each individuals life. That it looks at all aspects of the individual personality. That it recognizes that some skills like confidence, motivation and attention have to be addresses first in order to teach new physical skills. I talk about CE fundamentals, which consist in my eyes of the conviction in life-long learning and that with each new skill acquired new potential to learning is born. That in that quest of learning the dynamic of the relationship between the teacher and the learner is important, which builds up on trust that needs to be continuously nurtured. That we realize, that the role of the teacher and learner needs to be flexible. The reason for choosing what we teach, how to teach it and when, depends on techniques we learned during our training as well as our past experience, interests and additional training and how we have seen it work, or not work, to teach certain skills. As Susie Mallett in one of her latest blog said, there is no cook book for our work. Which allows us to try and be flexible in our teaching and change with our clients, but it is that fact that makes describing CE sometimes quite challenging.

The best way to make people understand what we do is choosing examples of our practice that might be relevant to their own learning and that very much depends on the crowd or person I talk to. Strangely or maybe not, that is exactly what we learned during our training to be able to give specific example to show what CE can do and has done in the past. And luckily that makes blogging about our practice even more important.


Monday, April 11, 2011

The girl with the soft voice

Today, after my second stroke group session, the group coordinator and me had a little talk. We were both excited what we just witnessed. One of the ladies recently attending the stroke support group and my stroke trial just had a major break-through. She was able to move her arm for the first time by herself since she had the stroke but more importantly was the confidence she gained from it. She was literally glowing at the end of the session, enjoying the praise and attention that 60 minutes earlier would have made her blush and run out of the room.

She wasn’t the only one who gained from this session. A lot of people attended and gained from it in different ways. I don’t think it’s your typical CE session. For most attendees there has been no initial consultation, even though some of the basic forms have been filled out. If I could describe it, its like a drop-in CE session like the yoga/pottery/wood-work classes in the other rooms of community centre. Yes, its not ideal but when the stroke group coordinator and me first got together, we wanted to make it accessible for everyone in the group. We had a group that met every week to socialize, exercise, play cognitive games, switch information and learn from each other. Not unlike any other conductive group. So to utilize this in way to make it a conductive group, was the challenge we set ourselves. I put together a program that differentiates a lot to be useful as an introductory course for all levels and abilities and I think everyone took away at least one new thing from the session. This was the second week of our eight-week trial and so far so good.

I don’t think it will stay as useful for all over a long term, unless we are able to split up in smaller learning groups. But it’s great for an introduction and accessible for people, who otherwise do not attend for various reasons.

Anyhow, in our discussion about the session, the coordinator said she knew from the beginning that this is something great, something big and she is very passionate about it. However-and she told me to not take it the wrong way (oh dear, here it comes) – the members of the group were surprise to hear that the “girl with the soft voice” will be back, to teach the group. Ummphh, “the girl with the soft voice” is definitely not the greatest compliment I ever had. But I understood what she meant, because yes I do have a softer voice and as my boyfriend puts it a slight “British” politeness in my voice that makes it softer. I also know that I am very passive when it comes to sell CE. I do want people to know about it without pressurizing them. I wish sometimes I would be a bit more aggressive in my approach to promote CE and I will try to work on it. I also wish I would be better with words. In my head I thought I actually did quite a good job going out there and talk about CE, but I also know where my talents lie. I convince people by showing them what I do and explaining while doing it. During group sessions I feel at home, in fact quite safe. That’s where my passion and knowledge glows (or at least I hope so).

Funnily, I know a lot of conductor colleagues, who are like me: Shine in their practice and not so much in their public speaking. But I also know, met, read from conductors who are naturals in public speaking and feel at home doing that. I hope that some more of those will step it up and talk/write more about CE. Also, the ones who are less natural at this, try anyway. Isn’t that what we teach our clients- trying is more important then achieving. At the end of day, without me “trying” I would have had the opportunity I had today, to teach some amazing individuals some new skills and help them glow.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Linked-in. Are you??? Should you???

A couple of weeks ago one of my clients suggested to me to join Linked-in. She explained to me that the is a professional network and unlike Facebook connects people professional without viewing pictures of their last camping trip.

I know this is old news to some but I so far I found it most fascinating. Not really for the fact that I made a lot of contacts (which I haven’t) but more for the discussions that are going on. I joined a couple of groups like “Neurorehabilitation” and Cerebral Palsy groups and been getting email updates about different discussions on a daily basis. Something tells me that those are the discussions we (as in the conductive community) should take part in. Getting out there and let everyone know that we have a voice and a view. And we can get out of our professional hiding-place. There is right now a discussion about Neuroplasticity, rehabilitation and Stroke. We should be in there, shouldn’t we?

Funny that those discussion look a lot like some that have been going on in the boundaries of the CE world. But maybe we still have to decide what our view is. A few of us came to the conclusion not too long ago on Andrew Sutton's facebook wall. Is that true? Quite possible, but who know without real widespread discussion.

Through Linked-in I have made a quite interesting acquaintance with a professional working in Toronto. His name is Nathan Gendelman. I commented on one of his blogs and pointed out some similarities in our thinking about learning and functional application of daily life skills. He replied to me (and allowed me kindly to quote him) “The LIFE concept does have certain common points with Peto, but it does have a lot of differences, which does not mean we can work together under one roof. [Literally as conductors do work for his company] I think if we can benefit to kids and adults with disorders - this is the greatest thing we can do. All the rest can and have to be worked out, so there is one path and all in one treatment.” After some negative experience in the past I have made with different professional, I am very excited to come across some who are looking for the exchange of views. I always knew that they are out there (as I met a couple in the past) and lately I am happy to report there have been more positive experience then negative ones. After a couple of email exchanges with Natan Gendelman, I have been asked to write about CE on the enablekids blog. That is the first time I have been asked such a thing and feel quite honored, who wouldn’t? I said I will give it a go and hope I will be able to come up with something useful.

Anyway, I am in the middle of spring camp and therefore pretty busy just being a conductor working with children and their parents - full time. I think it created a lot of learning for all (of course it includes my learning, too) and that right now reserves most of my attention.

I do hope in the future to be more out there. Discussing, writing and learning.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011


We are slowly or should I say quickly approaching the first Purpose Society/Moving Ahead intensive Conductive Education spring camp. It looks like we are going to be filled up close to capacity. This is very exciting indeed. There are a couple of newbie’s to CE group sessions and a couple of returnees. We only going to have a week with everybody and I hope some old skills can be refreshed as well as new things can be learned. It will be exciting to see how everything comes together and I will do my best to write about it.

We have started to look towards the summer and it already feels like it is just around the corner. Because this is the first summer camp I am going to run out here, I wanted to give people the opportunity to have their say on what we put on. Please visit my website (thanks Ben) to download the dates and details of the proposed summer camps. (scroll down to access the form) and let me know what you think!!!

By April we should know more what is going to be feasible to run and what not. In the meantime I will be looking in different themes, activities and games to ensure that those camps are going to be full of learning opportunities combined with lots of fun.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Realistic feedback aids intelligent love!!

During my previous job as a conductor, one of my duties was to help to train the new summer camp staff (we were lucky to have a lot of returning as well as regular staff members which made things a lot easier). Usually we only had 1 to 2 days training allocated for that. During which we were trying to cover a whole lot of topics: safety of clients, centres policies, basic facilitation, awareness of movements, expectation of conductive assistants and conductors, daily routines, details of children, set-up, being motivating and more.

One point of the training was how to fast track building a relationship with the child. This is a pretty hard skill to learn but makes all the difference in a CE summer camp setting, which relies on the good help of home trained CE assistance.

We discussed that having the right kind of expectations on the kids is important to get the kids to work for them. We told them that looking at their current and former aims as well as watching the conductor and senior assistants would give them a pretty good idea on what to expect of the child. We told them that its important to keep the children safe and that we would show them how to do that without over-helping them. We told them to have fun with them especially in the in-between times of the program. We told them how important realistic feedback is to those children and their self-awareness. We also told them that those kids are great kids, but that they get a lot of praise for things they have little control over like their smile, their cuteness, their eyes and their pure existence. And they had to be really careful with that, as we did not want them to cuddle the children all day long. It was their job to teach the child, to be fair and realistic with their feedback. We wanted them to look deeper to see the child’s personality in all its facets and talk with them and to them age-appropriately. We tried to teach them about Hari's intelligent love.

One of my favourite quotes about intelligent love is the one by Chas McGuigan : “You think you are giving a child love by cuddling it all the time, but are you creating more dependence? If you just push it away a bit, encourage it, teach it to do things, you are loving it with a capital L.'”

That’s why I disagree with the statement on feedback of one of my fellow conductors. (I disagreed with some more points in her blog, which I would like to discuss some other time):

Personally I like to give positive feedback to the kids all the time, even if they couldn’t do their best. To give an example, when a child cannot perform a task perfectly, I try to encourage him by saying next time; if you try to do your best a bit more, it will work. And I also tell him he did another task well.

What she says in her blogs comes from a good place and it made me think about it all day, which is definitely a positive thing. But it seems to be very controversial to what I tried and still trying to teach my conductive assistance and parents alike over the years.

I too, would rather give positive feedback to my kids and adult client all the time, but this is not always possible or even desirable. Being positive is great but feedback is all about reflecting reality. Do not get me wrong, I do always look for something positive to point - how small that might be. But that is just it, the task don’t have to be carried out perfectly, however they needs to show that they are intentional trying to accomplish the task at hand.

Most of the time my children and adult clients do try their best, in fact they try so hard that they forget to breath and/or they trigger unwanted movements (e.g. spasticity, tremors, over movements) and more. Telling them to just try a bit harder next time and it will work is not just unhelpful but leads to a continuing the circle of failure. If we let this happen, we are failing as teachers, because we simply don’t teach. A better way is to acknowledge that they are trying hard but although give suggestions how to change what they are doing e.g. breath, relax, fix other body parts etc. . We have been taught that letting our clients fail is not an option, that if we plan for something and we ask our clients to do it, we better make sure that it is completed successful, which by the way does not mean it has to be completed perfectly.

If you are not realistic, how can you teach appropriate behavioral responses? Some children and adults with movement disorders have behavior problems partly due to inappropriate feedback in their upbringing and daily life. You have to understand that this inappropriate feedback is because they love them and want to protect them from failing.

One of the moms I worked with told me the other week that she used to praise her 17-year-old daughter for anything she does, even if she didn’t really do what she was asked to do.

That meant she had a hard time following instructions correctly as well as showing some inappropriate behavior as everything she did was “right”. She said she changed this when she saw me working with her daughter. Every time she didn’t get I would tell her nice try, but try again until she got it and then gave her lots of praise. Sometimes I gave her some hand over hand help if she didn’t get it after a couple of tries (still making her initiate it), so I would not frustrate her. But she still had to be active during the process and initiate the right movement. This way she understood what was expected of her and was even more excited when she finished it. We also worked on reinforcing good behavior when she waited for her turn, used her voice instead of pushing people to get attention. My client is very different now, she learned a lot of different skills during a very short span of time and mostly has to do that the feedback has become more appropriate. Appropriate feedback has become a vital teaching tool to boost my clients learning and is part of her conductive upbringing at home.

The children and adults I worked with, always appreciated receiving realistic feedback. This way they know they can trust you, no matter what happens. This trust is the magic ingredient that builds the interpersonal relationship between the conductor (conductive assistant) and the client. The client can trust the feedback of the conductor because they know its real and not blinded by kindness. This is how we can expect our clients to try new and sometimes rather scary tasks because they can trust us. It’s a successful way of short-cutting building a good working relationship with my clients as well as their families.


Chas McGuigan note on intelligent love:

conductors blog

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Walking – more then just a physical skill…

About two weeks ago I started working with a new client. This young man underwent a SDR (selective dorsal rhizotomy) about three month ago. Before the operation he was able to walk with a rolator under supervision but he scissored his legs a lot and his parents felt that he would never be independent. That’s why they opted for the operation.

When I meet him two weeks ago he had a hard time sitting up straight as his core was very weak. This is why his parents decided to hire me in the first place. They explained to me that he had extensive physiotherapy since the operation and that the therapist was working on walking. In fact she tried to have him walking with his legs in perfect alignment with the help of equipment and facilitation. The parents were told that they should avoid walking until he mastered this skill. In order to support his progress, they carried him. His way of moving around was someone carrying him, which meant he had no idea how to problem solve involving his body. Further this meant he had little opportunity to get to know his new body, as it now reacts in very different way then before the operation.
Consequently he had little confidence using his body and was very scared standing on his legs. We tried a couple of steps and he looked and felt more stronger then I expected. However he needed a lot of physical support because he tended to collapsed ( a common side effect of SDR) and felt very insecure about it. He also crossed his feet a lot, which made him collapse even more.

I talked with the parents about that the skills of sitting and walking as well as problem-solving, self-esteem and confidence are very much interlink and that to get the one stronger the other need to be worked on. We also talked about that its important for their and their childs physical and emotional health to stop carrying him. And that walking in perfect alignment is also my goal but that I think he needs the chance to learn to fix his feet so he does not panic in case they do cross.

I explained to them that all rehabilitation processes I have been involved in with children who had the SDR done, it was vital that they stood on their legs as often as they could to build up strength and stamina. They told me they would like to do more with him but its hard with four other children in the house, they simply have no time.. I discussed that it is important for him to be able to move more as part of his daily routine as this is more important then exercising. So instead of carrying they should walk with him, for the short distances in the house.When he has to sit himself up on the sofa I showed him how to help him, so he can get stronger and eventually do it himself. Instead of lifting him up they should help to stand up so he has an active part in it. The family has been involved with CE before my time and it made straight away sense to them.

I suggested to get their physiotherapist to contact me so we could discuss if keeping him of his feet was really necessary for his rehabilitation. A couple of days later I had a very nice email exchange with that Physiotherapist and she was very open to my suggestions. In fact she thought they were are good ideas and she agreed with everything I said (that was definitely very refreshing to the usual professional encounters I had). So, the family stopped carrying him and felt less torn between two professional opinions. I worked with him for a bit to build up his confidence as well as getting to know his body. We explored what he could do and how to move his legs in different positions. While we were playing games he was building up his strength. We practiced to reach in and out of his gravity point. He was scared to try and I ensured him he could do it and I would be there if something goes wrong, so he was safe to try. That helped him to get over his fear. Within a short time he was able to do more and more. And with everything new he could do, his confidence level rose.

During our last session he was able to take 44 steps with his rolator with me having my hands on his hips in case he collapsed. We learned that the only times he did collapse was when his feet weren’t in alignment or he stepped on his toes. With me giving him some small verbal guidance from time to time he could fix his feet position by himself. I shared this with his parents and recommended that they start using his rolator to walk short distances.

I think the important changes that happened were that he and his family had more confidence to try and stopped being scared of moving around. It’s going to be very exciting to watch where he goes from here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy Conductive Education awareness day everyone!!!

Today is the second annual CE awareness day in North America support by ACENA. I hope it is going to be a good one for CE.

ACENA’s goal was to put out one common message about CE across North America. I love this idea and the templates showed that a lot of thought and work went into those. However, I did have to take out some of the brain stuff to stay true to myself. I always have been or at least tried to be a do-as-you-preach-kind-of-person. So I guess the message was more common-ish: that CE needs more awareness and support in order to help more children and adults with movement disorders and their families.

So I tried my part to raise more awareness of CE in BC for that day. I modified the ACENA newspaper template and send it out to a couple of newspapers, TV and radio stations as well as passing on a few flyers to local schools. So far I haven’t heard anything back and I am not too surprised about it either. Making contact with the press takes time and perseverance. Someone told me last weekend its important to keep sending those information so they become more aware of you and one day it might just work out.

ACENA was encouraging to send it out to your local government to get more support from this side. Unfortunately I joined ACENA too late this year to make that happen. Next year might be a complete different story.

It’s also pretty hard with having no consistent group running at the moment. So open houses are out of the question. But with spring camp approaching quickly, we might be able to arrange something.

It has been a learning curve putting those things together too. I guess it is not quite your usual conductor stuff to put out press releases or at least it has never been for me. I feel more confident to do this at a quicker pace the next time it comes around.

I guess raising awareness of CE is a one-step at the time process and I learned to accept that I have time to make this happen slowly out here. In fact a lot of people out here have encouraged me that good things take time and the quick fixes usually don’t last. As I am not going anywhere, I have the time to see it grow. Quite a conductive process in itself.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Making connections

My stroke clients’ learning is coming along in leaps and bounds. We have been exploring movement of the affected side. When we started he had little active movement in his arms and little to none in his fingers. The first time I asked him to move his arm, he tried so hard that it looked like his head nearly popped into a million pieces, but there was no real movement in his arm.

From there we worked on me holding his arm where he could actively move it (this helps to show progress and create motivation to try) while trying to breath and relax in between. He could move it more and more. A couple of weeks later he told me about this jerking movement his arm does. He was not sure what it was. It turned out to be real active movements of his arm that he could control. This movement in his arm did not look like his movements used to but that didn’t make them less real. It made it a start of a learning curve because now we can be working on controlling this movement so it becomes smoother and more controlled.

We also worked on him regaining some movements in his fingers. He said that he had some movements during his intensive rehabilitation after the stroke but that after a while he lost it and so they worked on different aims. His fingers are naturally open and he has a hard time trying to squeeze them together to hold onto things. We worked on holding onto a piece of doweling and to lift it using the strength of both arms. While doing this I could observe that when he extended his arms that his fingers would squeeze more together. But when trying to consciously squeezing his fingers it wouldn’t work. Through my observation I knew it was possible, now my client had to figure out how to access this movement.

We elevated his arm in this position he can relax (not using any muscle) so his fingers would stay open to grab objects. I then ask him to squeeze his fingers and he tried. He kept staring at his fingers but nothing happened. I could see him getting frustrated. I told him that the movement in his fingers most likely wont come from there and he should try to squeeze with something else like his shoulder or bicep. And then it happened. His fingers close. He repeated that movement a couple of times and later his wife would tell me it was like magic.

No magic – it’s more likely he made connections. With riding the brainwave I could say that his brain created some new pathways, but realistically I don’t know what exactly went on in his brain. What I do know is that my client is learning more and more that he still has active movements on his effective side, however they do not feel or being controlled the same way. It will time to learn how to control that but the important part is that he learned it’s possible.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

When parents talk…

During the last couple of days I was able to book three more initial consultations and on first impression it looks like I can really help those families making some valuable changes in the upbringing of their children.

So where did the new spiked interest come from?

Well, during the last couple of weeks I was working hard on prompting CE. I came to the conclusion right from the start, that the problem trying to build up a client base wasn’t due to lack of demand but more due to limited opportunity of getting the word out. Reaching potential clients is key to make it out here in BC. So I have been getting in touch with different support groups and I have been able to give a couple of presentations. I have met some great people, have come by some real interested but overall only limited success.

Last week after I finished the flyers for the spring break I decided to I send out more emails. I also put an information package together sending it to different child development centers, children and rehabilitations hospital. To be honest I do not expect too much back from it. I reported a while back about the negative experience other conductors have made trying to approach those places. So I was always reluctant to try. However, conductor Hajni pointed out on my blog a while back that hiding it doesn’t give CE a good reputation either. I chose therefore the passive aggressive way by informing them about it and open up communications channels if that what they wish to do so. If not, well you cannot convince everyone, even though that’s not even my real intention. I rather just want to put the word out there, that there is another option for educating and rehabilitating individuals with motor disorders. and their families. AND I am not planning on hiding it. You never know, their reaction might just surprise me.

As hard as I tried I cannot take the credit for the latest spike in interest. Parents of clients I have been working with, have done an awesome job advertising CE in a way I never could. They shared their experience and what it meant to them. Those real life statements by real people, who they know, made all the difference. And I am very thankful for that. I suppose it’s the best kind of compliment you could ever get as a professional.

In the history of CE (outside Hungary) it always has been the parents that helped CE to grow. Some exceptions apply. At the place I worked before, they run a little study on how their current clients learned about CE. The numbers were impressive. I am not sure the exact percentage but pretty much 4 out 5 people heard about it through other clients. With growing client numbers it is hardly surprising that they have to have waiting lists now.

Funny how CE tries to help families and individuals with Movement Disorders, but it is actually them who are helping us. THANK YOU.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Intensive spring break Conductive Education camp in BC !!

I know James had the honor of announcing the opportunity for the spring break first. But don’t worry I am looking forward to it with the same excitement.

The Purpose Society (with lots of personal effort by James) and Moving Ahead are able to offer two different camps this year for spring break. Who knows with some growing interest a third one might even be possible.

To get more information about those camps please visit my Conductive Education website: You can find the flyer on the bottom of the page (thanks Ben).

Please, feel free to email me if you would like some more information

Also, watch this space for summer camp information!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The two faces of Conductive Education- the good and the bad

My morning routine is quite something nowadays. After I turn off my alarm, I use my clever devise to check my emails. After that I usually see what has been happening over night in the curious world of Conductive Education. That usually wakes me up quite rapidly.

This morning I discovered a wonderful article written by Viktoria. From the eyes of a conductor she was making a contribution as a guest blogger explaining Conductive Education. Not an easy tasks but this one was great. I just loved it. Usually, I am quite critically and more often then not finding myself shaking my head at certain statements (usually the brain rewiring or therapy ones) or mumble something I rather not repeat. Sometimes its understandable because those are parents talking who cannot see behind tasks within the task series or other physical activities, which look so much like therapy but really serving a different purpose, the one to create learning experience. Sometimes the media only sells things that are cute or revolutionary like children miracles learning to walk or brain rewiring but sometimes its even organizations and conductors, who should know better. At this point, I have to say I am not perfect either and I am working on verbalizing skills.

But Viktoria nailed it. Reading it made me feel content that someone is out there who can verbalize Conductive Education without trying to make it into something that it is not and just puts it as it: a common-sense pedagogy, with the aim to teach, learn and teach. Thank you for that. The only comment I would have is that I do think it is holistic (working on the whole personality) but that in general people do associate holistic straight way with holistic medicine, which is unfortunate. But I am nearly sure that is what you meant anyway?

My morning promised to stay great after reading Susie’s blog and her appeal to answer to a forum, which was looking for someone that had experienced the service of the CE centre in Orlando Florida. Susie didn’t have to do that, trying to connect people. Surely there is no financial gain in it for her but I guess a certain satisfaction to be able to connect another parent with this great thing called Conductive Education but that is it. But she did it anyway,because it’s just such a nice thing to do and I think its because she really cares.

All well in CE land, at least that was my conclusion until I clicked on the link of the Orlando website. There it was again. Shaking of the head and the mumbling was returned instantly. I used to work with a family who took their child to that Centre(I think), and as far as I can tell they did some great conductive work. So why sell it so cheap, if they actually can make a different through more then physical activities combined with lesson plans.

I just don’t understand it. And worst of all, how I am supposed to expect outside people to understand CE if we still are not unified on the inside? Oh well nothing new you would say in the world of CE. And yes you are right – nothing new there.

While writing this blog, the question popped into my head if conductors who have primarily experience with the upbringing or lifestyle of someone close in their live like spouse, sibling, daughter, family member, friend etc have just a different understanding of CE and the central part of upbringing and the pedagogy then other conductors? Are myths spread by different CE organizations the reason for that? Or are CE training institutions where the mechanics of the CE are emphasized rather then the upbringing at fault? What is it? Is it the awareness of what really makes a difference and what won't? Years of experience?

Who knows and sadly it wouldn’t matter if we were all on the same page.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When not to care

Doing individual sessions at home let’s you see some aspects of human life that you usual don’t see working in a CE centre. You might sense their existence but usually it’s hidden under the mask of privacy and happy faces. Last week I’ve witnessed a relationship breakdown and re-birth that I am sure what have been presented in softer version would I see this client in a group session. But there it was, the sudden rather inspected outpour of my clients wife at the end at the session, that she will not help him anymore unless he really wants to do it. That she was done caring if he didn’t. That what she is doing now, constantly motivating him is too much for her.

Unexpected in a sense, that there wasn’t a major incident during that session that would have provoked this kind of reaction, or was there? However, the way this was said (there were more brutal words then this though) that lets assume this has been building up for a while and just had to unload. A lot of emotions where in this on both side (mine excluded).

My client had a stroke over a year and a half ago. He not only lost his ability to move and control his left side but also part of his short-term memory, planning activity, self-awareness, confidence, hand writing (as he used to write with his left hand) and worst of all his independence. His wife has been thrown in the position of being his caregiver, advocate, memory, motivator and instigator. As a couple they have lost their identities they had before the stroke happened.

About a month ago, I tried to suggest for the wife to try to step back out of some of the activities as his husband realized on her a lot to cue him to do certain things, even though he could do some without needing the cueing. She used to be a primary teacher and seemed to have slipped right back into this one when she lost her usual role as the wife. But then it didn’t seemed to find any resonance and I noted down to try to a later point.

That morning during the session my client brought up, how he used missed his handwriting. I used this as a opportunity to tell him about Suzies awesome blog and how helping her clients to develop hand writing after a stroke has really helped them to organize themselves. I was planning to try to introduce this to him at one point but was not sure he was ready for it. But seizing opportunities is possible one of the most important skills of a conductor. I asked him if he had tried to write with his right hand. And he didn’t. So I asked him if he would like to try it and he was willing to. I explained that writing down what he did, might help him to remember better and make it more real. He has a hard time believing that he did something when other people tell him that (we discussed that the week before). I also explained that he can take over some more of his care to write down what he wants to do that day, so it doesn’t seemed to always come from his wife. It turned out that handwriting was very difficult for him. Not only didn’t it feel right, there were also problems with other body in space judging issues (I also observed similar difficulties during gross movements). He didn’t space out his letters or took breaks in between words, which made it very illegible. He felt embarrassed trying to learn to write again, like a child. I assure him that there is nothing to be embarrassed again and made him aware of some things he did. By the end of the page his writing improved drastically and you could see some improvements with his confidence.

At the point of the outburst, I felt rather awkward because the emotions involved seemed to be so private. But at the same life is sometimes just like that: messy, complicated and a bit awkward. I think the hardest part was, to feel the hurt on both side without being able to make it better. I tried to help to discuss this a bit more - carefully- but the best thing for me to do was listening. On my way out I assure the wife that bowing out of the responsibility for improving his skills is a good idea as well as being important for her health and for his recovery.

On the way home, I felt very down after a otherwise good and productive session. I cannot imagine how my client and his wife felt, but possible it wasn’t as positive as I want everyone to leave any of my sessions. I thought the words were pretty harsh and it could have been sat differently. But then at the same time, who am I to judge. It’s their relationship and it’s there emotions and how they communicate them to each other is their private choice.

When I returned this week how it has been going with the wife backing out of things more quickly, the wife reported that she left him more by himself and said she feels a lot happier. My client reported that he didn’t notice the change. So after all it wasn’t a big issue anymore and one of them are like Norman quoted on her way to take care of herself physically and emotionally.


PS. Sorry Susie, I cannot find the post I was referring to in your blog.Tried to find it for a while but got stacked reading all those other wonderful posts. I have to go and do something else but I know it there somewhere. Reviewed: Thanks to Susie I have the right link now and im looking forward to hear more!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

More CE in Canada…

When I started working in Manitoba four and a bit years ago, I used to think there are only a few of conductors working in Canada, in Winnipeg, in Toronto and in Nova Scotia. Since then the numbers have grown and I have learned that there are way more of us conductors. Some of us are working self-employed or employed and some who have stopped working as conductors altogether for various reasons. I have been lucky to have contact with some of them. But I would love to hear about more experiences working in Canada.

A couple of days I learned about another place, where two more conductors are working. I received a google alert reporting about a fundraiser run by FACE (Families of Alberta for Conductive Education). Until then I was unaware that there is an active program in Calgary, Alberta. In fact last summer we had a client from Calgary in Winnipeg, who worked with a conductor, who was employed by the child development centre, but there were no groups only individual sessions. FACE however seems to have been around for a little bit and consistently growing. Well done, FACE!

It is really empowering to know that there are more of us out here in Canada. Yes, there is a lot of distance between all of us but it feels good to know there are more fighting for the same thing.

So that is what I know so far, how much Conductors/ Organizations are out there.

BC: 2 conductors mainly working independently, one traveling to different centers to work.

Alberta: FACE in Calgary with two conductors, one conductor working for the child development centre.

Manitoba: Movement Centre with two conductors

Ontario +Nova Scotia: March of Dimes 7 conductors (maybe one or two more??) Ability Centre in Picton: two conductors?;; I know of two other programs one is STEPS – not sure that they are running anything right now but they employed two conductors at one point and S.WO.N.T. also mainly running summer programs.

Have I forgotten anyone??? Slowly it looks like things are happening in Canada. Let's hope it does.