I have received an enquiry about the history of Conductive Education which made me realise that this is a very difficult area to investigate with few accurate sources.Over the years I have seen a number of publications and papers which give different accounts, have different dates for the same events and different emphases. Primary sources for information are very thin on the ground and quite a few accounts rely on the memories of those involved and have no references for follow up. I built up a collection of such materials, which can give at least some of the answers if carefully looked at, and the National Library of Conductive Education is now a rich resource of all sorts of material, including videos and press cuttings, in a variety of languages which can help to confirm facts and check details. I am sure that the Peto Institute library has an equally good collection of material too.
This would make a wonderful research project for someone.
Here are a few items which may be worth considering in a first trawl through the known resources, in no particular order.
Hári, M. (1999) A history of conductive pedagogy. Budapest: International Peto Institute.
Mária Hári produced this history published in Hungarian, English and German editions which includes details of the spread of CE outside Hungary. Some details do not tally with other accounts especially in relation to the UK. As I recall, there are no references.
Forrai, J. (1999) Memoirs of the beginnings of conductive pedagogy and András Petõ. Budapest: Ú j Aranyhí d and Birmingham: Foundation for Conductive Education.
This concentreates on the memories of those who knew Peto and discusses how he started, who he worked with and the development of his services into the Institute.
Sutton, A. (1986) The social-historical context. In Cottam, P. and Sutton, A., ed. Conductive Education; a system for overcoming motor disorder. London: Croom Helm, pp.3-28.
This early account includes a number of references that were available in English at the time of writing and concentrates on the system in Hungary.
Sutton, A. (2004) Mária Hári, from whom we have still so much to learn. Unpublished paper.
A paper read in tribute to Mária Hári after her death and looks at her achievements.
Kilborn, E. (2007) The Hungarian origins of Conductive Education: an educational system for children with neurological disorders (1945-2001). Unpublished paper.
This paper was written as a precursor to a research project which did not get started in the end.
Balogh, M., ed. (2007) Mária Hári and her conductive education. Budapest: International Pető Institute.
This book is also a tribute to Hári and looks at the development of the Peto Institute. English and Hungarian editions are available.
Ákos, K. and Ákos, M. (1997) The enigmatic Dr Petõ . The Conductor, 6(3-4), pp.49-55.
The Ákos’ recall their experiences of working with Peto.
Maguire, G. and Sutton, A., ed. (2004) Mária Hári on conductive pedagogy. Birmingham: Foundation for Conductive Education.
This is a collection of papers presented by Mária Hári between 1967 and 2001. Each paper has an introduction putting it in its historical context.
On a previous blog in November 2008, I included a list of material relating to Peto himself.
This is only a small selection and I would suggest anyone wishing to consult any of these or other material in the National Library should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
By the way, just in case you were wondering, the title of this posting includes a well known quote from Henry Ford, motor car manufacturer.