Wednesday, 17 June 2015


Peter Rosenbaum, in a Webinar

I have just come across this informative webinar on complementary and alternative therapies for cerebral palsy, by Peter Rosenbaum, a paediatrician whom I respect, not least for his patent struggle to come to a sensible accommodation to Conductive Education over the years (what I suspect he and many others nowadays might call 'a journey').

I have just come across this online presentation of his which I wholeheartedly recommend to all parents and pactitioners looking to form their own sensible attitude towards CAMs (complementary and alternative medicines) and their legion therapies. Peter Rosenbaum's formal talk and its overheads, and his less formal responses to submitted questions that follow and are worth siting back and listening to in full.

Or if you wish to zero in out of context to his brief mention of Conductive Education, you will find it as a response to a submitted question between 36 minutes 50 seconds and 38 minutes 10 seconds) –

Conductive Education is a long-time intervention and a popular one. For me, it makes a lot of sense.

It makes a lot of sense because from a developmental point of view kids are getting a lot of opportunity to practise what they are learning, they are encouraged to say what they are doing and to do what they are saying, and that verbal self-guidance that many of us do, even though we might not admit it, is a very useful way to talk ourselves through what we are doing, particularly when we struggling with something.

Again, the evidence from the limited research is unclear but I would not put Conductive Education into a complementary and alternative category the way I would with hyperbaric oxygen, or sensory integration, or patterning.

Professor Rosenbaum extricates Conductive Education from the insufficient evidence of the evaluative studies of the past end elevates it to the level of personal judgement, where his personal views are appropriately pedagogical, psychological and developmental.

Can Child webinars on cerebral palsy

The live event was held on 9 January this year at CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research in Toronto –

Complementary and Alternative Therapies (also called CAMs) are approaches to 'therapy' that are outside of the mainstream 'orthodox' treatments for a variety of health conditions. Their use sometimes threatens conventional practitioners, for a number of reasons that will be discussed. Some CAMs probably work, some are probably innocent and harmless, and some are frankly potentially dangerous and harmful. In addition some CAMs are available as part of what a community offers to people (for example, varied recreational programs) while many can be very expensive in time and effort from the person with the condition or their families.

This talk will offer listeners some ideas about how CAMs are often thought about by service providers, and will suggest some questions that people can ask when considering CAMs for themselves, their families or their friends.

CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research is a research and educational centre located at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Our research is focused on improving the lives of children and youth with disabilities and their families. Founded in 1989, CanChild is a world leader in the field of childhood disability. Our cutting-edge research and active strategies for making findings easily accessible to a wide range of audiences make CanChild the premier source for childhood disability information.

It was hoped this this webinar would be the first in a series of such on cerebral palsy.


Rosenbaum, P (2015) Complementary and Alternative Therapies: what arethe issues and why are they so heated? CP-NET Webinar Series, 9 January

Schenker, R., Sutton, A. (2014) Researching conductive education, Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, vol. 56, no 4, pp. 402-403, March

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