Common steps and sub-activities

Conductive Education

Conductive Education, or CE, is an educational system specifically developed for children and adults who have motor disorders of neurological origin such as cerebral palsy.

The objectives of the system are essentially to help the children to help themselves, so they can perform the everyday tasks of normal living - dressing, eating, and self-care – as well as help them go to a ‘normal’ school.  It also aims to help them integrate into the community at large and eventually be part of the workforce  - and thus gain some financial independence, using minimal or no adaptive equipment.

CE is based on the work of Hungarian Professor András Pető, whose National Institute of Motor Therapy created a framework for an educational model in which children with disabilities could have an education that met their particular physical and intellectual needs.  CE is based on the premise that a person who has a motor disorder may not only have a medical condition requiring treatment, but may often also have a major problem in learning that requires special education. Its spread has been largely due to the advocacy of families.

Conductive education entered the wider public consciousness in the mid-1980s, as a result of two television documentaries — "Standing Up For Joe" (1986), and "To Hungary with Love" (1987).  As of October 2016, these did not appear to be on Youtube, but it is worth checking this out in case they are posted.

Key principles

The child is a unified whole

The detrimental effects of a brain injury impede the whole development of the child, therefore practitioners of conductive education prefer a treatment that considers the individual as a unified whole and provides an overall, holistic intervention. Holistic means that everything in life, the total functioning of the individual, personal development and social organization, is seen as interdependent, interconnected, multi-leveled, interacting and cohesive. This idea of “whole” underpins the system from which Pető thought that children with motor disorders would benefit.

Targeting the whole personality

Conductive education attempts to build up the impaired children’s personalities gradually in a manner appropriate to their age. In Pető’s system, the individual is not a recipient of treatment, s/he is an active participant in the learning process. CE is conceived of as a partnership between educator and learners to create circumstances for learning - it is an all-day learning process.

Activity and intention

Pető asserted that restoring the interrupted learning process is not possible without the active participation of the individual, and that consequently passive exercises or patterns cannot change or improve the functional stage of an individual.

Continuity and consistency

In conductive education, continuity is considered necessary to reinforce a new skill. An opportunity to use the same skill for many different tasks is also considered essential. The system has to provide possibilities for children to practice emerging skills not only in specific learning situations but in the many inter-connecting, in-between situations of which life consists. In order to achieve this, CE turns any given part of a child’s day into a learning situation.

An interdisciplinary model

Pető believed that, in order to provide a unified treatment, it is vital that the group of professionals who are responsible for the program have training based on the same philosophy and relevant practice. Instead of a multidisciplinary approach, Pető applied an interdisciplinary model where a single specially trained group of professionals are responsible for the planning and implementation of the whole process.

 

Observations

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