Conductive Education may be beneficial for those with:
• Cerebral palsy
• Developmental delay
• Traumatic brain injury
• Spina bifida
• Multiple sclerosis
• Parkinson’s disease
Conductive Education is a system of learning that improves motor skills for those with motor disorders resulting from damage or disease to the central nervous system. The goal of Conductive Education is to give a child with motor disabilities greater independence in the activities of daily life.
Taught in small group settings, Conductive Education uses music, repetition, encouragement and equipment that aids in movement to help teach basic functional movements.
Movement specialists called Conductors, or specially-trained physical or occupational therapists, work with participants to teach them skills that promote independence in self-care and mobility. Throughout the process, each child is taught skills that help develop purposeful movement. Along the way, they gain self-esteem and achieve academic skills. Conductive Education addresses skills in mobility, dressing, eating and personal hygiene as well as playing and learning. In the secure and positive environment of Conductive Education, children are encouraged to express their creativity, be ambitious about what they can achieve and grow their skills for more everyday independence.
The History of Conductive Education
Conductive Education was developed in 1948 by Dr. Andras Petö at the Petö Institute in Budapest, Hungary. It is founded on the belief that children with motor challenges can learn and develop physical movement through repetitive skill exercises. While “typically developing children” learn physical movement through assimilation within their peer groups, the child with motor disabilities must be taught to develop these same movements as a skill set. Petö’s intricately devised learning program utilizes specially trained Conductors who guide and motivate the child through active moving patterns, that are eventually integrated into the daily activities of life. Today, Conductive Education is widely established in Australia, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Jackson Center is the only Conductive Education program in Indiana.
How does it work?
Conductive Education approaches problems of movement as problems of learning. Using music, devices and apparatus that aid movement, repetition and the student’s desire to achieve simple tasks, children develop and maximize functional independence through goal-directed activity, verbal regulation and group dynamics. A child uses speech or inner speech to express an intention, and then carries it out through rhythmic movement. This use of language facilitates and regulates motor activity and focuses attention on the movement.
Conductors, including those employed by the Jackson Center, are movement specialists who hold a four-year, university-based degree. Most Conductors have been trained at the Petö Institute in Hungary, however, there are other recognized training programs, including one in the United States. Conductors teach skills that promote independence in self-care and mobility while helping participants gain self-esteem and achieve academic skills. Rather than “solving” the motor problems themselves, Conductors guide and encourage each child’s own active problem-solving for movement tasks.
What are the benefits?
Conductive Education allows a child with motor disabilities to practice and learn new cognitive organizational skills in a motivating, compassionate environment. The child is encouraged to use active problem-solving to direct their movements. Over time the child’s brain creates new connections between thought and physical action. The emotional security and positive atmosphere of Conductive Education classes at the Jackson Center allow the child to express individual creativity and build their self-esteem. As they observe other children solving similar problems, they are encouraged to become ambitious, seek help when it is needed and explore individual strategies for problem-solving.