New Investigation into Conductive Education and Stroke

Over the years  adults and the benefits of Conductive Education for them have always tended to be neglected in the literature, research, and reporting of the field.  The work with children has had more focus, taking precedence, and possibly found more interesting or worthwhile.

Last week I was sent a link to a newly available evaluation of CE for stroke.

a study that investigated the impact of 10 weeks of Conductive Education for adults with chronic stroke symptoms’ 

at the Centre for Independence through Conductive Education in Illinois.  A small group of only four people with stroke were in the study,–

I believe this report/poster has been presented at several conferences already and a paper will be given at the World Congress of Conductive Education in Budapest, December 2016. It is hoped that an article will be submitted for publication in the near future.

Other projects on CE and stroke  have been reported over the years.

In 1995 a study of twelve people with stroke was carried out at Ontario March of Dimes by Alison Laver and a summary of this was published in Conductive Education Occasional Papers, no.2 in 1997.  As far as I know no further projects were carried out after this at OMOD.

Another evaluation took place at the National Institute of Conductive Education fairly recently(I can find no date for this).

Perhaps this latest initiative in the US  will result in further  investigations and enough interest to result in  ‘funding for expanded study with larger sample size and controlling for nonintervention-related changes over time, when the money is found’.


Information, information everywhere

To me, one of the most important parts of being a Librarian has always meant helping people to find the information they want, either from the library they are in or from another source using skills learnt  to search the resources available.

Since the advent of the Internet  and the World Wide Web everything has changed. There is so much information available it is difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Yesterday I was sent this link which reports on an example of the new skills that Librarians have to learn now and how these can be shared.

The librarian says:

…it’s no longer a question of there not being enough information out there, but of there being too much. “There’s more filtering in the librarian’s job now,….People need help discerning good solid sources from the rest.”

The report goes on to describe a group tutorial of searching for information and sorting out what is appropriate and what is not, lead by a librarian. All involved were very pleased with the results.

I am not sure how much of this sort of help is available to those studying and researching Conductive Education. It is not a subject with much academic interest or publication and most of what is available on-line is not of the best quality.

Meeting users’ needs was an  aspect that I really enjoyed when I was working as a librarian in Conductive Education and my knowledge of the library holdings and methods of searching usually bore the right fruit.

I hope that I can still do this with my knowledge of the subject,  limited physical resources, the virtual library catalogue, and connection to the Internet.

New hope for those with Parkinson’s Disease?

Trials for new drugs are being carried on all the time which gives hope to those with progressive, and incurable diseases.

Today I was sent a link to The New Scientist which reports on a new drug working well with some late stage sufferers of Parkinson’s disease.

The results of a small trial of 12 patients has been presented at the Neuroscience Meeting 2015 in Chicago this weekend,  which seem too good to be true.

“We’ve seen patients at end stages of the disease coming back to life,” says Charbel Moussa of Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC, who led the trial.

One of the patients, Alan Hoffman who was diagnosed in 1997, says:

the nilotinib trial changed his life. As his disease worsened, he had many falls, needed his wife’s help to get out of bed and he considered taking his own life. While deep brain stimulation helped treat the rigidity of his body, it wasn’t a cure, so he enrolled in the nilotinib trial. Within a matter of weeks, he was able to make the bed, and read a book for the first time in years.


Further bigger trials are called for by experts in the field.

In the meantime

Sadly, the effect doesn’t last, and when the volunteers were taken off the drug at the end of the trial, they started to deteriorate again …. Many have since tried to get hold of the drug themselves, but it costs a whopping $10,000 a month.

Only time will tell.

Research into Conductive Education services in South Africa

Another Alert from Google about a masters’ thesis completed in 2015 has reminded me about an ongoing project in South Africa.

In September 2003 after an initial investigation into the needs of the Sizanani Children’s Home in South Africa, Conductive Education was introduced in two phases and by 2005 was available to all the children,  and as far as I know it is still part of the work there.

Since then there have been a number of publications and student research reports about this project.


Vermeer, A, et al (2006) Effects of Conductive Education in a home for children with developmental disabilities. Recent Advances in Conductive Education, 4(2), pp.9-20.

Vermeer, A.  and  Templeman, H. eds. (2006) Health Care in Rural South Africa: an innovative approach. Amsterdam: VU University Press,  (pp. 132-146)

Magyarszeky, Z. and Vermeer, A. eds. (2014) Disability Care in Africa: Community-Based Rehabilitation in Rural Regions. Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit

Postgraduate studies

Six theses  have been submitted to the University of Utrecht for Masters degrees,  2010 – 2015.


Mathot, A. The evaluation of the Conductive Education program and the Cognitive Stimulation program in a home for children with developmental disabilities in a rural area of South Africa.Masters. University of Utrecht, Netherlands

Vos, R.V. and Westrhenen, N. van  The evaluation of the Conductive Education program and the implementation of a Cognitive Stimulation program in a home for children with developmental disabilities in a rural area of South Africa. Masters. University of Utrecht, Netherlands.

Velzen, J.M. and van Mathot, A.F. The evaluation of the Conductive Education program and the Cognitive Stimulation program in a home for children with developmental disabilities in a rural area in South Africa.   Masters. University of Utrecht, Netherlands.


Flesch, Kathrin. Evaluation of a cognitive play intervention in children with profound multiple disabilities at a children’s home in South Africa.  Masters. University of Utrecht, Netherlands


Twilhaar, S. Evaluation of a Conductive Education intervention for children with profound multiple disabilities in a residential children’s home in South Africa.  Masters. University of Utrecht, Netherlands.


Spek, A. An Evaluation of Conductive Education for Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders in a Residential Home in South Africa.  Masters. University of Utrecht, Netherlands


This is quite usual in other fields, but unusual in Conductive  Education. As far as I know, it has been a long time since a number of studies  came out of the same project.



A blast from the past!

In 1990 Dawn participated in a video, A Gift from Hungary, with Bob Hoskins. This was produced for the Foundation of Conductive Education by Sound Picture House and a not very good quality copy can now be found on Youtube.

A trip down memory lane for some!

Recently Andrew Sutton blogged the discovery of this and filled in  the background to it.

Yesterday I found a news item relating to Dawn, now 34 years old, who had married  her long term partner, Jon Khairule, on Saturday afternoon.

A lovely picture of Dawn and Jon,  and I wish them a long and happy marriage.



Result of the search for Wisconsin research video

A few weeks ago I posted about one of the first  research projects into Conductive Education, headed by Laird Heal at Wisconsin University in the United States, and  published in 4 volumes in 1972.

In  Volume 1 there is mention of an hour long video tape that could be purchased.  In the hope that it might still be available I wrote to the Library and asked. Eric Jennings, Outreach Coordinator & Instruction Librarian, responded very quickly and told me that he would check this out with the help of his colleagues.

On Friday I received an email regretfully reporting their  failure to find any trace of it. After such a long time it is not surprising as libraries need to constantly ‘weed’ their stock due to restricted space, and technology has moved on somewhat – I think I may be one of the few people who still has a working video player! Also the university was not involved in Conductive Education again.

Still, at least we all had a good go at tracing it and he said if it did turn up at a later date he would let me know.

Libraries cannot keep everything forever. This shows how important it is to keep safe Conductive Education material in all formats  for the future  and any equipment needed to access it.

If by any chance someone has a copy of this or has watched it, please do let me know!

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.

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.

Conductive Education gets a mention

I have frequently asked for more to be published about Conductive Education and today I see that mention has been made of it in a ‘proper’ refereed journal, Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology.

Andrew Sutton has blogged about a letter he and Rony Schenker have written in response to an article published about research which made an ‘apparently authoritative judgement on Conductive Education’. But not in a good way.

The blog posting, which includes the reference to the original research article,   can be found at

Startling, but possibly good news

 Today I had the usual alerts for news items on not only Conductive Education but also cerebral palsy. Usually the cp ones tend to be about fundraising for various operations and therapies and plucky Jack or Jill can now ride a bike etc.

Today’s was a little different as it flagged up a small piece in The Daily News from Galveston.

It reports that scientists have found a way to overcome cerebral palsy in rabbits and are looking to establish the same method is safe for humans to try. The reporter writes:

Before human trials can begin, researchers must determine if the nanoparticle in this study is safe for humans, particularly children whose brains are developing.

There’s also the question of how long doctors have before cerebral palsy is irreversible in children. In most cases, cerebral palsy is diagnosed by the age of 2, but if newborns can be diagnosed and treated immediately, Kannan’s therapy might be invaluable to those young lives

It may also be used for other conditions:

The study’s scientists already anticipate pairing the treatment with stem cell therapy to regenerate damaged nerve tissue in the brain.

Not only would this help newborns with cerebral palsy, but could also help people with other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis

There is much more to do which will take a number of years, I would think, but does show how medical research is developing to give hope.