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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.