Month: May 2009

US window on Conductive Education

The US CE portal is still not live due to technical difficulties, I understand. As I said before setting up such a website must involve collecting and collating an enormous amount of information, finding appropriate software for all the different aspects. Just getting this blog to operate as I wish can be a duel between me and the computer, so I have great sympathy and admiration for anyone who tries anything more complicated.
Let us hope it will be up and running soon.

To share or not to share, that is the question

Andrew Sutton’s blog postings referring to the lack of conductor participation in conferences reluctance to write, evaluate, and ask questions about CE has prompted some strong reactions.

The point that financial considerations can limit participation at conferences is a valid one and probably goes a long way to explaining the lack of conductors at conferences.

For example, for a conductor working in the UK to attend the World Congress next December in Hong Kong he/she would need to outlay 1500 pound sterling at least. And do it in advance, to book a place and a plane seat.

As to recording and sharing knowledge, it was suggested that information should not be shared as it encourages others to start their own practice when they are not qualified to do so. Surely other professions, such as doctors, dentists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, do this without such fears or predicted results? Most people realise that you can’t learn how to do something like this from just reading a book, paper or seeing a film, realise that more in-depth knowledge is needed and this is provided by training. Otherwise there would be no need for training in anything- we could all learn by reading.

I think it is important to build a literature, to record practice either in paper form, on the Internet or on film. Collecting such material is what librarians do , bringing it together to make it easily accessible for those who want to learn more. If everyone refused to tell their ‘secrets’ the world would be a poorer and less knowledgeable place. As Tunde says, that is what helps to build respect for CE from other professions, and encourage researchers to investigate. I have asked hundreds of times over the years for conductors to write about their profession with little result. In fact, my last blog was on this topic. It took eighteen years to build the collection held in the National Library. This includes material at all levels, some well written, presenting CE ‘properly‘, and some not doing so well, but still helping to build a comparative literature, a basis for further study.

I heard an item on the radio last week about the statistics of domestic violence. Apparently some figures were being quoted by respected sources about this which had been obtained from an inaccurate report. No-one had queried their accuracy, even though the figures were unexpectedly high, before going on to refer to it. It made me think of Conductive Education and how this happens in a similar way.Because the people who know what it is, how it works etc don’t write it down and provide basic accurate information for those who wish to know more and understand it, so others use papers and books containing inaccurate facts in their research and thus compound the initial mistake.

So come on conductors, give it a go and help your profession move forward to a better acceptance and higher regard. Sharing can only help CE, not hinder.

Sharing information and experiences in Conductive Education via the Internet

I think that the internet has provided a number of ways of enabling people to to ‘talk’ to each other when miles apart and one of these is the discussion forum. Discussion Forums offer an ideal way for those working all over the world, sometimes alone and sometimes with others, to share experiences and ask for suggestions to help solve problems. There are several discussion forums now for Conductive Education and none appear to be very active, unlike the former forum on the Foundation for Conductive Education website was a few years ago. Is this because technology has moved on, blogs and sites such as Facebook, Myspace are the communication channels of choice now? Are conductors too busy, too tired at the end of the day/week? Are they communicating in a more private way? I would be very interested to know. Even so, I would like to note that the Conductive Education Community Discussion Forum has had some new responses to the question about what conductiors wear on their feet. Maybe this will encourage more to join in the discussion.

Earlier this year, Ben Foulger reported on his blog that there had been no use of the internet to announce the programme and record what had been presented at a recent CE conference in England.

As he said, this would have been very useful and of great interest to those who had been unable to attend. He asked for people to vote if they would like this to happen in the future and said he was willing to help set this up for conferences. At the end of the time allowed (which was a couple of months, I think) there were only FOUR votes (all for the motion), of which one was mine!

I know all those who work in Conductive Education are very busy and committed to it, but I hope they will try and build on these small beginnings to share the information and experiences which would benefit them all.

Do let me know what you think and of any forums you use.

Some other Discussion Forums

Please note that the new US CE portal intends to include a discussion forum on its website but has been somewhat delayed due to technical difficulties.

New website for ACENA

Today I discovered that ACENA, the Association of Conductive Education North America has a new updated website which now gives a mailing address and contact emails for all those on the Executive Committee. The site is clearly set up and is very easy to navigate round.


Features of the site include :Downloadable copies of the Association’s Newsletter. The latest issue includes brief articles written by David Dvorak on research, Krisztina Bernstein on CE on demand, and Adrienn Deak on adult CE refresher courses in association with the Peto Institute.A job centre under the heading careers that includes vacancies for therapists as well as conductors.

 A calendar of events in North America.

A directory of CE programs in North America.

It also includes the discussion forum started some time ago.

Membership details and application forms are also available to download.

Conductive Education conference, Finland, 2009

After reading this morning mention of a conference in Finland on Susie’s blog,

I have found further details on the Internet. The one day conference is on 10 October 2009 at Ruskeasuo School, Helsinki with a welcome buffet being held the evening before. Let us hope this opportunity for conductors to talk about their practice and development is well taken up despite the constrictions of time and expense. If anyone who is going is willing to share with me the abstracts, papers, leaflets etc he/she brings back, I will be very happy to blog their contents for all those who can’t make it.

Click the link below for further details

Where on earth do you find it all?

I have been asked how I, as a librarian, find material on Conductive Education and this is a brief response to the questions posed in the comment on my previous posting. (Maguire, 2009).Before I start it is worth noting that the Internet has changed everything, removing the previous limited options to publishers’ catalogues or journal indexes and abstracts, enabling access to all sorts of things which would have been impossible before. This is extremely useful to a small library with very limited resources and little money to access databases and journals.Conductive Education does not have much of a ‘traditional’ literature, with lots of books, journals and conference proceedings, so tracking new material down can be quite difficult. Searches have to be done on a regular basis and knowing the field and its sources is crucial to success.

Useful ways of tracking, finding and getting hold of information
Networking – New publications, whether books, journal articles, conference proceedings are usually announced somewhere and the necessary details circulated to people or institutions who might be interested, by the writers, publishers or other interested parties. If I knew people who would be attending a conference I would always ask them to collect copies of any handouts, abstracts, newsletters, publicity material for me. Unfortunately, the rise of the PowerPoint presentation has virtually killed the writing down of conference papers and much valuable information has been lost, unrecorded. I do at least though get my hands on the names and email addresses of those who have presented. Then it’s up to me to write and nag for copies of anything relevant. And nag. And Nag!
Journals each issue of those subscribed to will need to be checked as soon as it is published for relevant articles, possible references, book reviews, news etc.


Reference lists   The bibliographies/reference lists of these new or newly acquired publications can then be checked for anything not already known or held in the library. Then these have to be tracked down, and nagged for, or copies obtained in other ways.
Academic databases/indexes   Relevant examples are Medline, British education Index, ASSIA. These give abstracts or basic details of articles published. These have to be gone though carefully to find relevant materials. Previously only available in paper form, it is now possible to access them via the Internet if you have a subscription. I was lucky to be able to do this via the University of Wolverhampton’s subscription. Not now, unfortunately. Then there are the specially compiled lists that are circulated to anyone interested, like the weekly cerebral palsy research listings compiled by the Spastics centre library in Australia. They have to be gone through too for anything of relevance.
Search engines  There is an amazing number of search and meta-search engines out there on the Internet, all offering something slightly different . Google tends to be everyone’s first choice with everyone for good reasons but others can be useful too ( see my earlier posting, Maguire 2008) .
Alerts  Some search engines offer an Alerts service for items in your area of interest and you can use a number of key words and phrases e.g “Conductive Education”, “cerebral palsy”, “charities” for new entries on the Internet each the moment that they appear. Google also offers this service blogs.
Online news services  Those search engines who provide daily news e.g. Google, Yahoo, MSN may have an archive for retrospective searching too.
Google Scholar and Books   Also useful listing of items searchable by keyword. Some books are also available in full.
Book sellers/publishers   Such sellers as Amazon,, Abebooks continually update their listings and also offer items at competitive prices alongside second-hand copies. Publishers such as Blackwells, and other online catalogues can be useful too.
Other languages Searches on the internet for CE using other languages, particularly Hungarian, German, Portuguese are also very productive.
Serendipity  Quite often I’ve found things while looking for something else using any of the above means.One search engine, Bananaslug is particularly useful for this and will join your keyword with a selection of other random words and bring up very interesting results!
Enquiries  those who make contact for help with their dissertation/project/research have always been asked to present a copy of the finished work to the Library and this can then be checked for further unknown items.
CE Centre Newsletters These usually quite often contain information about local events, research projects etc which can be followed up on. Some are not available on the internet and have to be requested , even begged for! Over the years the National Library has established a considerable stock of such publications, probably a unique record of the history of the internationalisation of CE.
Academics Because there are virtually no academics working continuously in the field, personal bibliographies aren’t found on the Internet. One exception to this is Jo LeBeer, Utrecht University. (Lebeer, 2009). It would be nice to have more like this. Established fields take them for granted. Some (not all) of the academics working in CE briefly, can be very good at producing items and giving copies on request. Lena Lind (Sweden) has been particularly good at this.
Press cuttings This is a colossal task (now done mainly through Internet editions of newspapers, magazines and other media) and needs tracking via several news services on a daily basis. A knowledge of the field is particularly useful here as many items do not actually include the words Conductive Education. Knowing the name of a centre or conductor or celebrity can make the difference and cerebral palsy articles are frequently about Conductive Education and don’t mention it.

Keep on searching  When new material is published, I make a search to check around the names, places etc mentioned for other items. For example, take the new article mentioned in the previous posting. The article comes from Hawaii. I used as many of the above options as I’m able to now and searched for Conductive Education and Hawaii. I did not get very much, but enough to provide an interesting lead to follow up with a personal email enquiry. This doesn’t mean there isn’t anything more, just that nothing has been found yet. It is worth remembering that a different day can produce a different selection using the same search criteria. Most of the references appeared to be old, pre 2000, but I found an email address for the one-time CE Centre in Hawaii and have written to ask for more information. A quick look at the online catalogue of the University of Hawaii only produced one reference on Conductive Education, Cottam and Sutton (1986). Surprisingly, the article in question does not refer to this. I found no other association with Conductive Education for the two authors. Before, as librarian at NICE, I would have contacted them to let them know about the Library, ask for a copy of their work, and offer the library’s services. It is surprising how many people do not know of the Library’s existence despite the internet and networking.

Copyright  After finding new material it is important to adhere to Copyright Law before printing off from the Internet, so necessary permissions have to be requested . This can take time and occasionally no reply is forthcoming so the attempt to obtain permission needs to be formally recorded.

Passing this on  A newsletter was circulated to staff at NICE every six weeks or so listing the fruits of such searches. I hope to continue with these on this blog and posted the first one recently (Maguire, 2009b).

Cataloguing etc   Finally, – how do I remember things – well, I’ve been lucky to have a good memory all my life and working with the literature every day made remembering things relatively easy, but I’m sure that, as there is so much now, I have forgotten things too. That is what libraries have catalogues for. The classifying, cataloguing and preparation of items for users are the next stages and this systematic organisation of the library’s contents helps to make the items easily accessible, if not always remembered. Great care needs to be taken choosing the appropriate keywords and classification for each item and this part of library management would make a blog all of its own!

Cottam, P. and Sutton, A., ed. (1986) Conductive Education: a system for overcoming motor disorder. London: Croom Helm.

Lebeer, J. (2009) Academic bibliography.
Maguire, G. (2008) What does a librarian do?

Maguire, G. (2009) We seek it here, we seek it there

Maguire,G. (2009b) News on the Internet no.1.

Conductive Education: benefits and challenges

It is great to read on Andrew Sutton’s blog today that the above article on Conductive Education has been published in an American special education journal. is only available to read if you have a subscription to the journal, Teaching Exceptional Children or are a member of the Council for Exceptional Children, but I have managed to read the reference list and am pleased to say that all those mentioned are available in the National Library of Conductive Education.

Getting a copy to add to the library stock may take a little while as copyright and permissions/purchase will be necessary, but hopefully this article will become a new addition as soon as possible and be accessible to all users of the library.

I suggest you contact Melanie Brown if you wish to be informed of its availability or wish to access any of the references.

The full reference is:

Ratcliffe, K. and Sanekane, C. (2009) Conductive Education: benefits and challenges.
Teaching Exceptional Children,May/June, pp. 66-72.

Conductive Education classics no. 5

Hári, M. and Ákos, K. (1988) Conductive Education. London: Routledge

This is an English translation by Neville Horton Smith and Joy Stevens of the original Hungarian book published in 1971 as Konduktív Pedagógia. It is the most frequently cited title and considered the standard text by many, although it disappointed a lot of people on publication because it was mainly medical in content.
Conductive Education was planned as the first in a series covering the background and basis for the practice of Conductive Education, but as far as I know no further parts were published. About two thirds concentrates on medical aspects – the brain, neurology etc before getting down to explaining how Conductive Education can help. These chapters cover such aspects as the group, facilitation, observation and task series.

A large number of photographs are included in an appendix , pages 233-375, showing certain tasks used in the groups for the different types of cerebral palsy.
This book is now out of print but is held in the National Library of Conductive Education and also a number of second-hand copies are available from Amazon or Abebooks at a range of prices.

Hári, M. and Ákos, K. (1971) Konduktív Pedagógia. Budapest: Tankönyvarkiadó

One piece of good news in Conductive Education

Thurrock Cerebral Palsy Society in Essex, UK have just opened a new building which will now be the permanent home of the Conductive Education services they offer. In an article published in the local paper yesterday:

Consultant for the Kids First School of Conductive Education and volunteer of 15 years, Carol Day, said: “We now own our own centre freehold outright and it can never be taken away from us. The children seem really happy here and the parents are delighted with their new surroundings.”

Please go to

for further details.