Friday, 21 September 2012


Whyever not?

A modest example
Perceptive amplification
By perceptive amplification we mean the CNS's ability to increase the sensory system [sic] receptive capacity by modifying the functional setting. 'Keeping your eyes open and your ears peeled' describes this phenomenon, without which it would be more difficult to reach an adequate perceptive attention level.

Pribram (1991) described this process in detail, finding that it is often impaired in CP children. Some young patients seem able to process visual, proprioceptive, tactile or vestibular information, but they are totally unable modulate their attention level through anticipatory control.
To improve their motor performance it can be useful in some cases to enrich the environment with some particular sensory information (extra-perceptual information, according to van der Weel et al., 1991). This 'supplementary' information can be generated by the individual himself, for example clapping his hands at each step or tapping his feet on the ground, in order to create an external rhythm, or it could be introduced through adaptive modifications of the environment, like making colorful footprints on the floor, which act as gait-facilitating patterns through visual reference. For some diplegic patients, catching a moving object can be more difficult than grabbing a still object, because supplementary information, improves timing and reduces the presence of involuntary movements.

Some CP treatment methods, for example A. Peto's conductive education (Cotton, 1974), have made great use of the perceptive enrichment produced by the child himself (when during the activity he emphasizes the aim of his actions by singing rhythmic songs) and through a rigorous adaptation of the therapeutic setting and the patients' personal living environment.
(Ferrari, p. 91)
There could be so much more

Why, oh why in the struggle for plausibility has not Conductive Education related itself to relevant neuropsychology? It might then even generate some of its own.

The problem lies less in availability of relevant knowledge than in the Conductive Education sector's failure to attract or generate people to tap into this – embracing instead, some strange views of where relevant science might be found.


Cotton, E. (1974) Improvement of motor function with use of conductive education, Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, vol. 16, pp. 637- 643

Ferrari, A. (2005) Perceptive defects, in Ferrari, A., Cioni, G. (eds) The Spastic Forms of Cerebral Palsy: a guide to assessment of adaptive functions, Milan, Springer-Verlag Italia, pp.73-98

Pribram, K.H. (1991) Brain and Perception: holonomy and structure in perception, NY, Erlbaum

Weel, van der, F. R. , Meer van der, A.L.H., Lee, D. N. (1991) Effect of task on movement control in cerebral palsy: implications for assessment and therapy, Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, vol. 33, pp. 419-426



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