Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Moving from tragedy to farce

You couldn't make it up

Somebody called Sherri did –

...Thanks to treatment developed at the Peto Institute in Budapest, Hungary, children with cerebral palsy are rising from their wheelchairs and walking again ... cerebral palsy [is] a condition that leaves the brain damaged after birth, typically because of a temporary lack of oxygen. In patients with cerebral palsy, the connection between the mind and the body’s muscles is broken. The majority of children grow up in a wheelchair...

American doctors said there was no hope, he would never walk on his own. [His] mom searched for solutions and found the Peto Institute, where doctors told her that her son could walk, but she would have to move with [him] to Hungary to take advantage of their program...

At the Peto Institute, [he] was immediately put into a form of brain-muscle training classes called conductive education. The teachers are called conductors, and they spend eight hours a day, five days a week, tirelessly showing children like [him] how to move, repeating simple motions over and over to near exhaustion.

The idea behind conductive education is that if the brain is forced to try, it will find a way to reconnect the broken connection between the brain and the body’s muscle. Andras Peto, a Hungarian doctor, came up with the therapy just after World War II. His belief that children could learn the skills that lead to an independent life has led to 1,500 children from all over the world participating in the Peto Institute’s program. The program was continued after his death by one of his first conductors, Dr. Maria Hari.

The program is no easy task. The children work on a table called a plinth, modeled after a Nazi concentration camp bunk with little cushion or comfort. The children are forced to feel the movement through a controlled and constructive use of pain...

'He has bruises. All the kids have them, and they laugh about them, because they’ve been working so hard … It’s a hard surface, and I know it’s difficult on him, but it makes him want to do the exercises quicker and get off of there. It makes him want to do them right so he’s finished with it. Everything they’re doing on the plinth is strength and flexibility, which he needs both of'...

Thankfully for parents of children with CP in 2012, there are many conductive education centers around the United States, so parents like Lesley no longer have to make the costly trip abroad for their children’s treatments. The video … is from a center in Tuscon, Arizona and it gives a good glimpse into the muscular training classes...



Who needs satire?

I see no reason to think that the above was written with other than the best intentions, having been concocted in the way outlined last month in a posting on Conductive World:

You couldn't make it up. This one is for real and presumably will be already contributing to CE's steadily deteriorating public image. Bibbidi-Bobbidi Boo indeed!

Who need friends?

CE's worst enemies could not, however, have dreamt up a more harmful little tale to do damage to the reputation of Conductive Education.

Whose job to clean up the mess?

It would be nice to think that there are public-spirited individuals and organisations in the US with the gumption to step in and do something about this one.

Perhaps ACENA, the Association for Conductive Education in North America might have a role here.

Its 8th Annual Conference will be held in just a month from now:


Sherri, (2012) Kids with cerebral palsy get help from Conductive Education, Ams Vans Inc., 3 August

Sutton, A. (2012) Knowing Conductive Education, Conductive World, 31 July

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Blogger Gillian Maguire said...

I've seen some awful descriptions of CE in my time, but I think this one is the worst ever. Its time we all became champions for real, proper CE, and real, accurate information.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012 at 12:12:00 BST  

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