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Children with cerebral palsy often benefit from alternative forms of education geared towards kids with special needs. Conductive education focuses on a child’s unique learning style, interests, and abilities more than limitations. It was specifically designed for children with neurological and motor disorders and has shown great promise for many kids.
About Conductive Education
Conductive education is a multi-disciplinary approach to educating children with cerebral palsy and other neurological and motor disorders. It was created and developed in Hungary in 1945 by Dr. Andras Peto.
According to Peto, disabled children can overcome their limitations with indirect teaching and learning. Teaching children is focused on their personalities and learning style instead of a more traditional and group-oriented approach offered through public schools’ special education programs.
Conductive education allows kids to see themselves as self-reliant, regardless of how many limitations the world tells them they have. It also helps children develop an “ortho- functioning personality,” meaning it helps them achieve educational and daily living goals via nurturance and developing a teaching plan that centers around the child and their likes and dislikes.
Although conductive education is not medical-based, it does integrate medical knowledge into learning methods that help teach children how to gain control over their movements and encourages self-care.
Principle Points of Conductive Education
According to the Conductive Education and Professional Education Group (CEPEG), the main principles and goals of conductive education are:
- Neurological disorders are not seen as limiting factors; everyone has the ability to learn and thrive.
- The child’s interest comes first when learning.
- Children can choose their own intentions when learning and solve their own challenges.
- Social interaction is an important part of conductive education.
Skills emphasized in conductive education include:
- Playing together successfully
- Physical functioning
Unlike traditional therapies in which adaptive equipment may be used to help children move about, conductive education generally avoids these devices and sees them as a way of hindering the child’s natural progression and leading to a more passive attitude.
Who Teaches Conductive Education?
Educators, known as conductors, lead conductive education. Conductors generally have a Bachelor’s degree, an elementary teaching certification, and a special education endorsement for physically impaired children. Additional qualifications may be needed depending on the organization.
A conductor is responsible for carrying out the principles of CE. Learning occurs in a group setting that follows a daily routine so that the child can learn how a real-world routine helps them find their strengths, likes, and dislikes.
Additionally, children may learn the concept of rhythmic intention or alternate ways to complete tasks via language, music, and rhythm.
Conductive education covers a variety of educational needs for children with cerebral palsy:
- Self-care lessons include learning to chew correctly, drink correctly, eat with a spoon, toilet training, and how to dress and undress without assistance.
- Communication lessons include making sounds, proper breathing techniques, drool reduction, and how to articulate words.
- Motor lessons include learning to stretch limbs properly, improving head control and balance, hand-eye coordination, grasping skills, and more.
- Social lessons include interacting positively with peers, participating in group activities, and lessons in boosting confidence and self-esteem.
Where to Find a Conductive Education Center
Although conductive education is more prevalent in the UK when compared to the U.S., over the past decade, its presence has become more prominent in the U.S. However, you may run into obstacles when trying to find a conductive education center. It is not typically found in all cities.
One of the easiest ways to find out if there is a location near you is to refer to ACENA’s location directory.
- What is conductive education? (2019, October). NICE – Centre for Movement Disorders.
Retrieved from: https://conductive-education.org.uk/about-us/what-is-conductive-education/
- About conductive education. (n.d.). CEPEG - PCA | Conductive Education Professionals Education Group and Professional Conductors Association |.
Retrieved from: https://www.cepeg.org.uk/about/conductive-education
- CE directory. (n.d.). ACENA. Association for Conductive Education in America.
Retrieved from: https://www.acena.org/ce-directory.html