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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.



  1. Anne,
    yes, that is what i meant; while there isn't anything fundamentally wrong with 'holistic', the word is unfortunately profoundly contaminated since it is almost exclusively used by the "alternative medicine" bandwagon. This word causes an immediate knee jerk reaction against conductive education in any otherwise intelligent and reasonable person who didn't happen to hear about ce before, who then puts the "alternative therapy" stamp on ce in their minds, thus creating us a lot of trouble. I'd suggest to forgo 'holistic' in order to help prevent such unfortunate associations.
    p.s: It took me years to figure this out.

  2. By the way, your closing questions are great. I have been thinking so much about "why sell it so cheap" lately. Over the years I discovered many possible reasons for this (the years included a period during which I was almost sure that some of that talk is okay to satisfy certain people) but later I entirely changed my mind.
    I would love to write about this, too, as my time lets me... :-)

  3. I also applaud Viktoria, it is very difficult to articulate Conductive Education. (My reason for leaving this one up to the professionals) I knew Viktoria would do a superb job! She has lived the life from both sides. Parent and Conductor.

  4. Thank you both for your comments.
    V: I guess you are right. In general I do like the word holistic and I will try to be more cared how I use it. Would love to hear more about 'selling themselves' cheap. It's a very fundamental problem. I think most people felt like you letting it sit wrongly in order to please certain groups of people. Hasn't done Ce a lot good though. Look at the big Ce studies that have been done where they wanted to squeeze Ce into something that its not and I guess Andrews blog tells the tale when it turns around and does more harm.
    I do hope you get the time to write more.
    Janet wise decision to let viktoria write it, the insight into both sides makes all the difference.

  5. Oh, the pressure :-)
    I guess I'll write as I get to it, unless I spend all my time pulling my hear out reading those ce studies...

  6. Hehe... Those studies would do that to you ;-) Good luck to you and it will be indeed very interesting to read.