Month: March 2011

International Conductive Education Working Group established

Whilst searching the Internet for items for my virtual catalogue, I often come across the unexpected, but all the more interesting because of that. Yesterday I found the minutes and working paper of the International Conductive Education Working Group, a group which I had not heard of.

This records the minutes of a meeting held during the World Congress in Hong Kong involving people from Austria, Germany, North America, Hungary and Hong Kong only. No British, Australian or New Zealand representatives.
 A photo of those at the meeting heads the minutes.
These minutes are recorded under the European Conductors Association logo by Thorsten Gegenwarth and it was agreed that the ECA
who have drawn up the mission/vision statement, would co-ordinate the working group for the next three years. Perhaps the results of this working together will be presented at the next World Congress in Germany in 2013.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of this proposed co-operation and sharing and I will post any further information I find.

What choice would you make?

A mother, whose son has cerebral palsy, writes in the Guardian  movingly

‘Nathan was born at 23 weeks. If I’d known then what I do now, I’d have wanted him to die in my arms’

Her son was premature and had to spend some time in an incubator and now as well as being profoundly deaf ( a side effect of the drugs he has been given)

He can’t walk or talk. He’s oxygen dependent, although hopefully that might change. He has chronic lung disease, cerebral palsy and global developmental delay. He has diabetes inspidus and his thermostat is a bit wonky so he gets hot and cold.”

His life expectancy is short, not much more than his teens. A heartbreaking situation for any parent and she asks whether all premature babies should be saved.

A question I would not like to answer, and a decision I would not like to make.

Update re the Virtual Catalogue and Repository

A few months ago I started moving the virtual catalogue on my blog at
 to a new page on Conduction’s website at
and now  253 items have been added  with more still waiting, but please note that this task will be never ending as I discover more items on the Internet.
I hope to be able to post a selection of items recently added regularly to give you an idea of the types and numbers of material available via the catalogue.
A Repository has also been set up. This will include the full text of documents which have not been published and are unavailable elsewhere. Items will be listed in the searchable catalogue –  a fine resource for those wishing to read more about Conductive Education.
I have several waiting to be included and last week Andrew Sutton alerted me to the possibility of another, a paper being delivered to a conference in the US. :-
   DeCleene, K, DePoy, L. Can Occupational Therapists Enhance a Conductive Education Program with Sensory Integration for Children with Cerebral Palsy? 24th Annual Dean’s Occupational Therapy Research Conference. Saint Louis, MO, March 2011.
I have been in touch with Kate DeCleene and she has agreed to send me a copy when the final draft is complete. This is wonderful and made me wonder if there are any more such papers, presentations that could also go into the Repository. If you know of any, or have papers of your own, please do let me know.
Naturally it will take time to get  everything up, but I am working at it as time is what I have plenty of at the moment!
Please do let me know what you think of this project and how useful it is for you.
Feedback of any kind is very welcome.

News that NICE conductor-training with Wolverhampton is ending

 Yesterday evening I saw the report of the demise of the conductor-training at NICE
I felt very sad. I was involved in this course from the very beginning as I had been building the Library for some time at this stage. The Library was established as an open access  resource for all those interested in discovering, studying, researching Conductive Education and was used by all the students too.
I do remember many of the graduates who have gone on to do good work all over the world and enjoyed helping them during their studies. Quite a few have contacted me over the years with queries and I enjoyed editing the book Just Do It! – a collection of reports on their  new careers in Conductive Education, published by Conductive Education Press.
A Google Alert has led me to a number of comments on Andrew’s blog in response to the news  and I will look forward to hearing more about the plans to continue the course at NICE in June, as promised there by Mel Brown, and post any information I get on this blog.

The five pillars and all that – what did Ester Cotton say?

I have just been working in the garden and thinking about the on-going discussion about the spread of Ester Cotton’s principles  on Andrew’s facebook page. It occurred to me that there are probably people who are reading all the comments who don’t know what Ester actually said, and what the principles are, that are now being questioned.
So I have given up on the pruning and weeding ( thank goodness!) and come inside to try and find material in the Internet which might help clarify what she said.
I have found a number of documents which are based on her principles and understanding of what she saw in Budapest in the late 1960s.

The article on her visit to Peto and his institute can be found on my blog at

She later wrote another article , published in  the Journal of Mental Subnormality, June, 1968, with Margaret Parnwell, about the service she had set up using the principles, and this can be found at
The now defunct UK Federation of Conductive Education produced a brochure  detailing the principles which has a foreword by Ester Cotton and this can be found at
The Scottish Centre for Children with Motor Impairments has a paper on its website which also gives details of these principles which I believe they use. (I hope someone will correct me if I am wrong about this.)
These are the result of a quick search based on my memory and I am sure that a longer more thorough investigatioin would turn up others too. I do know that more items written by Ester Cotton can be found in the National Library of Conductive Education at NICE, but these won’t be as easily accessed as the Internet.

Cerebral palsy numbers declining?

I have seen a number of reports on the Internet stating that  cerebral palsy numbers are on the decline and this suggests improvement in quality of perinatal care.  These are highlighting the results of a study carried out in the Netherlands which will appear in the Journal of Pediatrics. The jornal website states:

Because cerebral palsy is a result of brain injury received shortly before, during, or soon after birth, the number of infants being diagnosed with the condition is a good indicator of the quality of perinatal and neonatal care. An article soon to be published in The Journal of Pediatrics indicates that the rates of cerebral palsy have declined dramatically in the past 15 years.

For more information go to

 This study by researchers in the Netherlands  has been reported  quite widely  e.g.

Perhaps it would be wise to wait until a closer look at the study and its findings is possible when the article is published in the March issue of the Journal of Pediatrics, but any improvement in  medical care  that produces such results,  certainly has to be good news.

British government special educational needs plans revealed

At last the green paper on special educational needs has been published by the UK government and can be found at
Quite what it will hold for all those children currently placed in this category, I can’t say, as things may change after the consultation period which will now take place.


Anyone wishing to submit information, make comments etc on the proposals  can do so between 9 March and 30 June 2011.

For further information, and to see letters written by the minister, Sarah Teather along with go to

and look at the left hand side bar.

The Opposition (Labour) party’s comments and views can be seen at

and The Teacher’s union, the NASUWT, reports its reaction at$21387674$1345015.htm

Further comments can be found by entering ‘SEN green paper’ into Google News. I expect there will be quite a few hits for this over the next few days.

North America Conductive Education Awareness Day 2011

I have left it a week to make sure all items have been spotted but if I have missed any, do let me know.

It is a shame that there has not been many, even less than last year and only a couple of centres dominate those reports – see below.
Announcement of the Day
Susie wished everyone a good day on her blog
Information about the day’s activities for Conductive Education Learning Center
Announcement of the day made in the Fall 2010, newsletter from March of Dimes
Television coverage in Michigan
Newsletter of the Conductive Education Center in Orlando, Florida, announces the Day
Anne Wittig posts a blog wishing all a good Awareness Day and reports her attempts to get the media interested.
Statement about the Day on Peto Institute website

If anymore come in I will add them to the list and blog it.