cerebral palsy

Conductive Education for those with cerebral palsy after school age

Whenever I get a request for information which I cannot supply or put the enquirer in touch with someone who can, I feel disappointed.

Today I had such a request for a list of places offering CE to teenagers/adults with cerebral palsy. Whilst many centres and conductors do work with adults (but not necessarily those with cerebral palsy) as shown on the Where Conductors Work map,


it is not known if those with cerebral palsy are included under their adult umbrella.

I would like to ask all of you who do work with teenagers/adults with cerebral palsy to let me know so I can add you to the currently very short list I have.

Introducing Conductive Education to Nigeria

Tünde Szarka has posted some photos on her Facebook page showing her work with children in Nigeria.


Tunde has been to the Cerebral Palsy Center in Lagos before, but as far as I am aware this is the only such work in that part of Africa. Practice has been ongoing for some time in South Africa at the Sizanani Children’s Home but I do not know of any other.


If anyone knows any more please get in touch.

New guidelines for cerebral palsy

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence in the UK has published its first guidelines for cerebral palsy, concentrating on the causes and treatment.


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care. In April 2013 NICE was  established in primary legislation, becoming a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) and placing it on a solid statutory footing as set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2012, accountable to the Government Department of Health.

The new guideline, “Cerebral palsy in under 25s: assessment and management,” covers diagnosing, assessing, and managing CP in children and young adults from birth to age 25. Its goal is to ensure that cerebral palsy patients receive the care and treatment they need so they can be as active and independent as possible.

A press release about the guidelines can be found at


Guidelines on adults with cerebral palsy is expected in early 2019 – quite a long time to wait.

Laird Heal and Evaluating The Integrated Management of Cerebral Palsy

Last summer I did a posting on Sylvia Kottler, an early pioneer into Conductive Education in the US and the papers she wrote. This led to Andrew Sutton  reminding me of a report of a research project on Conductive Education done  in Wisconsin, US, and published in 1972.

Since then I have been investigating the report and Laird Heal its author.

This is what I found.

In the late 1960s a US university professor, James House, visited the State Institute in Budapest and this was reported via an interview in Ideas of Today (Maas, 1968).

 In the Fall of 1968 a research project, The Integrated Management of Cerebral Palsy, funded by the US Office of Education, Bureau of Education for the Handicapped (DHEW/OE), was initiated and directed by Professor House, as reported by Heal in the acknowledgements of its published report:

 There would have been no IMCP project without the tenacity of its founder and original director, James B. House who overcame overwhelming obstacles in order to introduce Conductive Education to this country. The talent and energy of Margo House, the project’s original supervisor were also essential to the founding of the program. (Vol.1, p.i)


The ICMP project was funded to evaluate a program that replicated as nearly as possible the procedures used at the Institute of Movement Therapy in Budapest Hungary  (Vol.4, p.1)

Professor House left the project in 1970 for personal reasons and Laird Heal, an experimental psychologist (Vol.1, p.55 ) and associate professor of psychology, perhaps an unusual choice, took over from him.

It is interesting to note the following statement in the Introduction to the Report:

While the project had little contact with European centers for conductive education, it profited enormously from even this limited exposure. The accumulated months of training and consultation by Dr. Maria Hari and her staff at the Institute for Movement Therapy were an essential ingredient in the construction of the IMCP project. The consultation of Ester Cotton in London, England, was also extremely valuable. Finally, the three month sojourn of Margaret Parnwell gave the original staff daily contact with a consultant who had several years of first-hand experience with conductive education.(Vol.1, p.ii)

 Like many other research projects this one suffered a variety of problems, including a high turnover of staff, inadequate setting up, and premature winding down, but interestingly those involved still ended up believing Conductive Education was worth pursuing and the report concludes on a positive note.

 The staff ended the project as they had begun – believing firmly that the principles and procedures of conductive education are sound and that the effort to import them to this country should be pursued. This belief and the documented success of the procedures in other settings must be seen as persuasive arguments for the continuation of this pursuit. (Vol. 1, p.v)


The final report in 4 volumes was published in 1972.

Volume 1

Contains the preface, introductory section, the results, discussion and conclusions, references and raw data.

Volume 2

Contains Appendix A: IMCP Documentation Handbook .

Volume 3

Includes Appendix B: Field Test Report of the Eau Claire Functional Abilities Test and the Wolfe-Bluel Socialization Inventory

Volume 4

Is Appendix C: An Analysis of the Evaluation and Follow-up Data from the Institute for Movement Therapy in Budapest, Hungary.

Video material was also produced:

 In addition to these four volumes, Judith Sorenson, with the assistance of the staff, has made a one-hour half-inch Sony videotape that tells the story of the project. This tape is available from the Audio-visual department at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. (Vol.1, p.iv )

I wonder if it is still possible to obtain a copy of this! I have written to the Eu Claire University in Wisconsin to ask.

 As is usual after a detailed piece of research, Heal published two articles, one in Exceptional Children in 1974 and another in Journal of Special Education in 1976, presenting the results and conclusions. (See reference details of these below). There is no trace any later publications about, or connections to Conductive Education for Laird Heal that I can find.

 Heal went on to become a Professor of Special Education, Social Work and Psychology at the University of Illinois and published books and articles about developmental disability. A list of these can be found at

Laird Heal died at the age of 65 on 21 November 1998 and a brief memorial notice was published in Inside Illinois, newsletter for the staff and faculty members, University Illinois Urbana and Champaign




Heal, L.W. (1972) Evaluating an Integrated Approach to the Management of Cerebral Palsy. Vols.1-4. Eu Claire: Wisconsin University

Vol 1


Vol 2.


Vol 3


Vol 4


Heal. L.W. (1974) Evaluation of an integrated approach to the management of cerebral palsy. Exceptional Children, 40(6), pp.452-453.

Heal, L. W. (1976) The Comparison of intact groups using the analysis of covariance.Journal of Special Education, 10, 4, 427-36.

Maas, R. (1968) Breakthrough in Budapest: an interview with James House. Ideas of Today, 16, pp.110-114.

Centre in Norfolk has now closed

The centre  that I mentioned a few posts ago


which was under threat of closure, closed  at lunchtime on 12 February as reported by ITV news yesterday.


Parents and staff  have set up a  Fundraising campaign at


So far they have raised £9,870.   £90,000 a year is needed to keep the centre going.

Research results reveal new cause of cerebral palsy

In the news today I have read that scientists in Australia have found a link between cerebral palsy and genetic mutation after 20 years of research.


The report states:

A trial …has found that a large number of cerebral palsy cases are caused by a genetic mutation.

 It challenges the long-held belief that the condition is caused by a lack of oxygen during pregnancy or at birth.

 Now researchers have found at least 14 per cent of cerebral palsy cases are likely to have been caused by a genetic mutation

The research was carried out at the Robinson Institute, University of Adelaide.


Further Items on Cerebral Palsy Report in the News

It is now a week since the report on cerebral palsy was published


I have been checking to see if news items about the report have been published since then. As far as I can establish there have only been two,  in  the local newspapers of Portsmouth and Leicester.

The Portsmouth Evening News  states

This would include nationally-agreed protocols around earlier diagnosis and intervention, improved awareness and training for health and education professionals, improved signposting and support for families and greater funding for research into cerebral palsy to improve outcomes. Now the government will work to  put these recommendations in place.


A very interesting  statement.

The  other, from  the MP for Loughborough in Leicestershire, Nicky Morgan, also Secretary of State for Education, is a note in her  column for the Leicester Mercury. She refers to her attendance at the reception for the Report and a Leicestershire CE centre, Steps and its work.


I have not received information about any others I may have missed, so I am assuming that that is probably it now.


Reports of Yesterday’s Launch of ACP’s Parliamentary Inquiry into Cerebral Palsy

Today I have been searching for reports of the launch of the report on Cerebral Palsy that I mentioned yesterday.


So far, I have managed to find the following from:

the PR firm handling the campaign


Paul Maynard’s Facebook page


Action Cerebral Palsy’s Facebook page that links to a Radio interview with Ian Sansbury, author of the Report

https://www.facebook.com/actioncerebralpalsy    and


The Portsmouth Evening News


A number of tweets


There is also a viewpoint from Andrew Sutton at


If anyone has seen other reports or comments, please do let me know  and I will add them to the list. If I find any more or receive  information I will let you know with an update.

UKparliamentary debate on cerebral palsy today

Today there was a government debate on the education of children with cerebral palsy in Westmister Hall from 9.30am to 10.37am.

This was chaired by Mr Philip Hobone, and the discussion opened by the MP for Fareham, Mr Mark Hoban, who describes cerebral palsy and refers to his own support for the Rainbow Centre in his constituency. Other speakers included the MP for Selly Oak, Birmingham, and the Under Secretary for Education, Mr Edward Timpson.

For further information,  see the recorded contributions of these three politicians at


Pioneer doctor and expert on cerebral palsy dies

Yesterday I read about the death of Eugene Bleck, aged 91, an American doctor who worked in orthopedics and wrote about cerebral palsy. Several of his books are in the National Library of Conductive Education and were well used by students and staff alike.


The obituary states:

Bleck’s professional accomplishments were numerous: He was a founding member of a pediatric orthopedics study group, which became the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, and served as president of the society, as well as of the American Orthopedic Association and the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine.

He worked in private practice:

While a resident in orthopedic surgery at Duke University Medical Center, Bleck wrote his first scholarly book, An Atlas of Plaster Cast Techniques. It became an instant classic, Rinsky said. Bleck and his wife, Anne, moved to San Mateo in 1955, and Bleck established a private practice that was increasingly focused on care for children with cerebral palsy. His book, The Orthopaedic Treatment of Cerebral Palsy, published in 1979, established Bleck as the top expert in that field. The book is still in print and considered a respected comprehensive reference source to be read “cover to cover,” according to a 2009 review in the Journal of American Medical Association. He was also the author of four other books on cerebral palsy and 85 publications in refereed journals.

He leaves a substantial legacy of publications, all of which are still relevant and have much to offer those working  with children with cerebral palsy, particularly Physically Handicapped Children: A Medical Atlas for Teachers.

Some titles are currently available second-hand on Amazon and Abe Books at reasonable prices.