To make the most of the time before Cayla is starting school next year I have finally decided to try Conductive Education (CE). I was looking into this type of therapy back in February but decided on taking her to the “My Time playgroup” instead as I thought that would be good for getting her ready for kindy. This playgroup is also run through the Carson st school but at a different location. Unfortunately the times for this playgroup
clashed with her Pre-kindy so we haven’t been for a few months now.
So yesterday was Cayla’s first session at the Carson St School where she can attend CE in a group two afternoons a week. This is a Government funded service which is free so that is great. There was only two other kids in the group and we did some singing combined with a variety of stretches and exercises. There was an outdoor area set up with stations with different activities similar to the once we do in our normal physio therapy sessions such as stepping over hurdles, taking big steps and jumping on colourful small plastic mats, walking sideways and laying on a big round roller rocking backwards and forwards etc. Cayla had lots of fun but was a bit restricted as she still has her cast on. We are changing the cast tomorrow again and hopefully this is the last one for now. The session was finished off inside where the teacher (conductor) read a story and the kids did some painting before it was time to say good bye and go home.
I am also taking Cayla for an assessment with a lady called Illdiko Szivek who offers Conductive Education in a private practice. The therapy with Illdiko is not free but we are able to apply for funding through a charity here in WA and hopefully cover some of the cost. Another positive about the private practice is that it’s only a 5-10 minute drive from our house instead of 30 mins to Carson St School. I am very interested to find out what Conductive Education really is and what it can do for Cayla. CE is a bit controversial as there are no scientific evidence to show that this type of therapy is working, however young people with cerebral palsy and parents both in Sweden and here in Perth are raving about how much it has improved their lives so something is working I would say and I’m happy to try it out to see for myself.
Conductive Education is a learning process that was developed in Hungary in the 1950’s by Professor Andràs Petö. It is a holistic approach that aims to help children with motor disorders learn how to overcome problems of movement, enabling them to function more independently. The basis is that Conductive Education works with each individual and his or her personal criteria with an intensive training both in groups or individually. Movement, communication and cognitive development are in focus. With an improved movement pattern, the potential is opened for development and learning. Conductive Education sees the child as a whole, recognising that each area of development impacts on the next. Physical skills, play skills, communication, social interaction, exploration and self-care skills are all developed within a fully integrated programme, planned by the Teacher-Conductor. A conductor undergoes a four-year academic course in conductive education that specialises in neurological injuries and will have a qualification from the International Petö Institute in Budapest or The National Institute of Conductive Education in England.
Essentially, it is about developing a “can do” attitude – an active, problem solving approach to life and an adaptable, flexible nature in order to cope with the daily challenges life throws up – from walking, dressing, eating and personal hygiene to communicating, exploring the environment and engaging with activities and resources across all learning areas.
There has recently been a big thing about Conductive Education in Sweden where Stockholm County Council decided to not renew the service contract for a centre for CE in Stockholm called Move & Walk (M&W). It was decided that another rehab team would take over this very specialist training from M&W which of course made a lot of people angry and upset… Luckily the decision has after nine very tense days been withdrawn and M&W will be able to continue to offer kids and young people with cerebral palsy this type of training. You can read more about the story about Conductive Education and M&W here and here.