CONDUCTIVE EDUCATION

Helping individuals with neurological and mobility impairment

A FOUNDATION FOR INCREASED INDEPENDENCE

Background

The founding of Conductive Education is associated with Dr. Andras Peto. The highly educated physician and educator was born on September 11, 1893 in Szombathely, Hungary where he also attended school. The shaping of his view of life was probably determined by the strict upbringing he had received from his mother who was a teacher by profession and the fate of his father who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

His concern with the therapy for motor disabilities originating from damage to the central nervous system began in 1922 in Simmering Sanatorium. The basic principles of Conductive Education appear already in his articles published in 1931. In 1938 laid the foundations of his conductive pedagogical system which he later elaborated in detail.

Professor Peto started to implement his original, comprehensive personality development in 1948 for children with motor disabilities. Following a successful two-year experimental period in 1950 he could launch the National Institute for Movement Therapy which has been in function to date and remained under his directorship until his death in 1967.

Today conductive pedagogy, the Peto method is a ‘Hungaricum’. We cannot say it is the sole miraculous answer for everybody with a motor disability. It has been proved, however, that at least one third of individuals with motor disabilities of central nervous origin develop better with Conductive Education than with other methods.

Conductive Education began to make its appearance in North American in the 1990’s as pilot projects staffed with Hungarian-trained conductors began cropping up. The first and only North American conductor-teacher training program began enrolling at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan in August 2000. Conductive Education in North America received another boost when CBS aired a special on CE at the Peto Institute in February 2004.

Currently, there are approximately 30 centers providing Conductive Education in North America.

Benefits

Conductive Education (CE) is an intensive and holistic approach to educating individuals with neuromotor disabilities. Developed by Dr. Andras Peto in the 1940s, the aim of CE is for the motor disabled individual to achieve “orthofunction” – adapting to and functioning in his/her environment. Conductive Education combines physical activity with cognitive tasks, emphasizes communication, and places the individual in a group setting which maximizes active learning.

Peto developed the concept that motor disability was a learning difficulty and placed an emphasis on helping those with motor disabilities to learn to help themselves.

Conductive Education has been shown to increase a person’s self esteem, level of motivation and general health as well as increasing their ability to function independently.

Conductive Education generally works with those individuals who have motor skill disorders such as cerebral palsy (CP), however CE is also beneficial for those with spina bifida, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, stroke, and traumatic/acquired brain injury. Candidates for CE should be able to show basic cognitive skills and should show signs of understanding and following verbal communication and simple instructions.

To find out more about Conductive Education, including tuition costs and potential benefits, or to sign up for classes today, please contact us at 419.335.7272.

Techniques

A Conductive Education program includes a structured and consistent Daily Routine which allows individuals to become comfortable and learn faster. A CE Daily Routine includes all aspects of an individual’s life, and is set up toward the achievement of group and individual goals. A CE Daily Routine generally includes programs focusing on the development of gross and fine motor skills, balance, coordination, and self-care skills (toilet training, self-feeding, hand-washing), all while working toward cognitive, social, emotional, and speech/language development.

The programs are run with small groups of individuals held together by a conductor. The conductor, who has been trained for 4+ years in areas of psychology, sciences, special education methodology and conductive pedagogy, is responsible for the structure, rhythm and tempo of each session. The mode of teaching is verbal, with the conductor verbalizing instructions for each activity as it is being done. The group members are encouraged to join in with the verbalizing, which may be in the form of counting or saying a word which emphasizes the action (e.g. ‘I bend my right leg. I bend it. I bend it.’).

Activities vary from simple to more difficult, with an emphasis on the accomplishment of a task. The sessions are goal oriented, although the means to accomplishment may differ with each individual. Each activity is directed towards a specific function which is commonly difficult for the individual.

The conductor is responsible for keeping the tempo of the session as well as being motivating and encouraging. ‘Rhythmical intention’ is used to maintain motivation and helps people initiate the movement and continue to move through the task smoothly. Practice is viewed not as a mechanistic repetition of meaningless motor acts but as a conscious process of learning optimal motor solutions to particular problems.

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