Friday, 25 January 2013


Remember the Ákoses

It is a while since Conductive World mentioned something theoretical, so here is one prepared earlier (in 1991). It comes from my Foreword to the book, Dina, by Károly and Magda Ákos and concerns how they saw the essence of Conductive Education –

Though terminology differs, underlying concepts may be comfortingly familiar. 'Anthropogenic co-operation' refers to the interactions, the reciprocity,out of which human personality develops, with the child playing an active role. Dysfunction is seen as a learned, psychological outcome of disability within this context, with 'metamorphosis', transformation, possible through appropriate adult attention. Movement is not some separate, physical product of nerves and muscles, but arise essentially out of the joint, meaningful activity of adult and child, within the emotional bond of parent and child.

Most especially, the developmental psychology described evokes the work of Vygotskii and his followers...

Naïve interpretations by visitors to Budapest, seeking to ground what they have seen or heard there firmly within the framework of existing practises and structures,have suggested that Conductive Education is somehow a mix, combination or agglutination of teacher, therapist, nurse, etc. Both the practical accounts and the theoretical statements given by Károly and Magda Ákos confirm the necessity to take on the child's total psychological development, not least its emotional and motivational aspects, in any attempt to create movement education for cerebrally palsied children.

At the time I took it for granted that psychological sophistication within the field of CE could only grow – indeed this book, and its original German-language edition were intended as a step towards bringing about a deeper and broader theoretical understanding of the system to match that so well expressed in its practice.

Twenty-two years... What happened?


Ákos, K., Ákos, M. (1989) Dina; eine Mutter praktiziert die Konduktive Pädagogik (Petö-System), Ulm, Alabanda 1990

Ákos, K., Ákos, M. (19 91) Dina: A Mother Practises Conductive Education (Petö System), Birmingham Foundation for Conductive Education, and Ulm, Alabanda

There are also Chinese and Russian editions to be found, and much of the English edition quoted above is available on line:

Learning more

Find numerous previous items on the Ákoses on Conductive World by entering Akos into the 'Search this blog' box in the top left-hand corner of this page (indicated by a small magnifying glass). Scroll down, and down... for several pages.

Amongst these a posting of July 2010 includes enthusisatic testimonies to the continuing value and relevance of the book Dina, from Norman Perrin, Susie Mallett, Rony Schenker and Emma McDowell, along with further onward links:

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