conductive upbringing

Justin Herbst, Conductive Education graduate gives evidence to US Senate committee

Quite a few years ago I had contact with Patti Herbst when she started up the Conductive Education Center in Illinois with her husband, Chuck.. She had a son, Justin, with cerebral palsy and discovered Conductive Education which she was determined he would have. She wanted ‘independence for Justin’ and wrote about his journey in Intelligent Love, published by Conductive Education Press.

Since then the center has gone from strength to strength and so has Justin. He attended Southern Illinois University and after graduating found employment with UPS (United Parcel Services).

Yesterday I received the latest ACENA Newsletter which reported on the US Senate Committee hearing on Fufilling the Promise: Overcoming Persistent Barriers to Economic Self-sufficiency for People with Disabilities.

This hearing took place on  September 2014, and  Justin gave evidence along with several others. His presentation can be downloaded as a pdf  and watched on the video.

Justin’s achievements  are a fantastic example of what Conductive Education can do to transform lives and enable those with cerebral palsy to achieve their potential. His hard work has paid off and he is now willing to stand up for others and put the case to the US government to update its disability policies, for the Government to make sure that true independence can become a reality.

Patti and Chuck, enormously proud of their son, are still working hard to make Conductive Education  better known, and practised in the US.

Nice one!

Conductive Education – getting it right?

Today a posting on Facebook by Andrew Sutton refers to a discussion thread about Conductive Education that has been written by mums of disabled children. Their knowledge of Conductive Education is patchy to say the least, with some of their comments based on hearsay rather than experience. Definitely inaccurate too, as ‘pain’ and ‘therapy’ are frequently referred to.​.uk/post/a11845555/conductive_​education

I would like to hope that they come in contact with the mother whose latest blog posting gives a more accurate picture of Conductive Education and a clear description of it.

This Canadian mum speaks for a lot of mothers I am sure, and I hope others will publicise their own experiences of just how good Conductive Education can be for a cerebral palsied child.

Let me tell you a story




Mallett, S. (2010) Let me tell you a story. Nürnberg: Conductor Nürnberg.

Susie Mallet published her booklet based on some of her blog postings in December. For more information about it  go to

As she lives in Germany I am acting as her UK postwoman and therefore I have some copies. If you wish to purchase a copy, please email her at 

with your details and she will invoice you, send me your UK address  and I will post a copy to you. This will be much cheaper and quicker than sending it from Germany.

More about konduktiv pedagógia and konduktiv nevelés….

I was pleased to see Tunde, Andrew and Susie respond to the posting re konductiv neveles and konduktiv pedagogia. I see it as my job to present information about the holdings of the library and leave others with a much more in depth knowledge of Conductive Education to analyse, criticise and comment. This is what they have done, raising further requests for information in the process, so here goes.
The library holds four reports of visits to Budapest by Germans in the 1960s:
Otto Klein, from the Humboldt University, Berlin visited the Institute in 1962 calling it ‘Institut für Bewegungspädagogik Budapest’and produced a detailed report of the work there. He referred to the work as ‘Konduktion’ und ‘konduktive Bewegungspädagogik’ and the staff as ‘konduktor’ and ‘Bewegungspädagoginnen’ An English translation of the report mostly used the term ‘movement teacher’ and after a quick scan of the German I could only spot mention of ‘kondutive’ twice amongst the many references to movement pedagogy. Mention of rhythmical intention is made.In 1964 Helmut Eckhardt, a doctor visited whilst on a two week study trip to Budapest and had read Klein’s report two years previously. I do not have an English translation of this and my German is very rusty, but he did use ‘konduktorin’ and ‘konduktor’.

Rolf Lehnhardt, a journalist wrote up his visit in 1965, just after the new profession of konduktor had been recognized by the Hungarian State and he does use the term konduktive Methode and quotes Peto as saying,

Seit 1939 nunmehr in Budapest widme ich mich vorwiegend der konduktive

Ungvari and Schmidt, two Krankengymnastinen (physiotherapists) reported on a three day visit to Budapest in 1967. Again I have no English translation of this, but they wrote of Pető’s method, rhythmic intention and konduktorinnen.
None of these four uses the term Konduktive Förderung,(conductive upbringing) a term commonly used in Germany today. All four appear to be positive enthusiastic reports.

As to Pető’s use of education to describe his work, the article mentioned by Andrew is one he published in 1955 in Gyógypedagógia. An edited version in English was published in The Conductor, 1993. Full references for both of these are below.

Tunde raised the English translation of Konduktiv pedagogia (published in 1971 by Hári and Ákos) in 1988 which was called Conductive Education, but the use of Conductive Education was quite established by then and further investigation would find if any other terms were used then too .

If anyone has anything further to add to this discussion or knows of relevant material please do get in touch. As I said before there is so much in the library that could form the basis of a number of research projects.

Photocopies of all the items listed below can be supplied under the usual conditions. Please contact me if you would like any.

Eckhardt, H. (1964) Die Behandlung zerebralgelähmter Kinder in der ‘Bewegungsversehrten-Erziehungsanstalt und Konduktor-Seminar’ in Budapest unter Leitung von Prof. Dr. med.A. Pető. Beiträge zur Orthopadie und Traumatologie, 11(6), pp.419-424.

Hári, M. and Ákos, K. (1971) Konduktiv pedagogia. Budapest: Tankonyvkiado.
Hári, M. and Ákos, K. (1988) Conductive Education. London: Routledge.
Klein, O.(1962) Zur Bewegungspädagogischen Behandlung zerebral gelähmter Kinder im Institute für Bewegungspädagogik Budapest. Beiträge zur Orthopadie und Traumatologie, 9, pp.315-332.

Lehnhardt,R. (1965) Lebenshilfe für Bewegungsversehrte. Schwabische Zeitung. [Exact date and page unknown]

Pető, A. (1955) Konduktiv mozgasterapia mint gyogypedagogia. Gyópedagógia, no.1, pp.15-21.

Sutton, A. (1993) Conductive movement therapy as special education. The Conductor, 5(2), pp.37-39. [Summary in English of Konduktiv mozgasterapia mint gyogypedagogia. Gyópedagógia, no.1, pp.15-21.]

Ungvari, E. and Schmidt, H. (1967) Bericht über das Institut für Bewegungstherapie in Budapest. Krankengymnastik, no.9, pp.323-325.

When did konduktiv pedagógia and konduktiv nevelés become Conductive Education?

After posting the piece about Ester Cotton’s visit to Budapest in 1965, I have received an enquiry about the start of the use of the term Conductive Education. Translating the Hungarian phrases ‘konduktiv pedagógia’ and ‘konduktiv nevelés’, (the terminology of choice for most Hungarians) literally gives us ‘conductive pedagogy’ and ‘conductive upbringing’, not Conductive Education.I have had a look at the materials written in English between 1965 and 1972, after which the term started to become widely used in English articles, dissertations and reports. It is not clear, however, from these exactly when and why the system became known as ‘Conductive Education’.

Several reports of visits to the Institute made in 1966 give no name to the system, (Bobath, K.; Bobath, B.) but do mention ‘conductors’, (Parnwell; Seglow), ‘the Budapest method’ and ‘Pető’s training method’ (Parnwell). Seglow did report that ‘Pető regards his education as a conditioning process’. In 1967, Ester Cotton published an article in Nursery World which used the term ‘Conductive Education’ and another article with Margaret Parnwell in Special Education which mentioned the ‘State Institute for Conductive Education of the Motor Disabled’. These were both published after the death of Pető in the September of that year. In 1968 James House, an American professor who visited the Institute, talked only of ‘conductors’ and ‘the Budapest method’ in an interview, not ‘Conductive Education’ (Maas, 1968). In 1971, James Loring, head of the Spastics Society (UK) reported on a visit with no mention of ‘Conductive Education’.

James House went on to initiate a research project at Wisconsin University reported by Laird Heal in 1972 also referred to ‘Conductive Education’. From this time ‘Conductive Education’ seems to have become the term of choice in material held in this library and not other phrases, until the 1980s onwards, when ‘conductive therapy’ and ‘Pető therapy’ started appearing.

This is the result of a very limited and fairly quick search of the items in English held in the library. Searching in other languages may produce different results and further investigation would make an interesting research project for someone.

Other reports, articles, papers etc not held here may shed further light on the subject, so if you know of, or have any information please let me know!



Bobath, B. (1966) Visit to Pető Institute, Budapest, September 1966. Unpublished report.
Bobath, K. (1966) Visit to Dr Pető, Budapest, September 1966. Unpublished paper.
Cotton, E. (1967) They speak to move. Nursery World, 27 October, pp.5-7.
Cotton, E. and Parnwell, M. (1967) From Hungary: the Pető method. Special Education, 56(1), pp.7-11.
Heal, L. (1972) Evaluating an integrated approach to the management of cerebral palsy. Final report. Washington: US Office of Education, Department of Health Education and Welfare.
Loring, J. (1971) A visit to the Pető Institute for spastic children in Budapest. New Hungarian Quarterly, no. 42, pp.140-143.
Maas, R. (1968) Breakthrough in Budapest: an interview with James House. Ideas of Today, 16, pp.110-114.
Seglow, D. (1966) Visit to the Pető Institute. Unpublished paper.