Tuesday, 12 April 2016


Vital points from Angie Smith

Angie is a veteran of the early campaign to bring Conductive Education to the United Kingdom. She has left a comment on my recent article in Special World
CE literally transformed my life by re-teaching me to walk independently, at the age of 28. As you know, I have athetoid cerebral palsy – I am still on my feet at the age of 54. It has been a constantly challenge because adults with cerebral palsy, in the UK, are supported to maintain habilitation.
Grow up, live your life, grow old
Conductive Education is not an institution but if it were, except for a few exceptions, it is not one generally characterised by services for people with cerebral palsy across the lifespan – as is the prevailing situation within the societies as a whole in which Conductive Education is now embedded around the world.
This may rather obscure the potential lifespan contribution that Conductive Education might make in a wide variety of service contexts, concerning which Angie's Comment above has encapsulated three vital points:
  • people can commence Conductive Education at any age (the sometimes holy cow of early intervention can draw attention away from this important fact)
  • Conductive Education can help maintain gains and enthusiasms (linked to the familiar old adage of 'use it or lose it')
  • in the UK and similar countries, such services as there are for adults with disabilities can be no more than 'support', a prop to maintain people's status quo (in other words, however well-meaning, the practices and understandings of 'support' may teach dependency and helplessness, and prove ultimately iatrogenic).
Angie has featured before in Conductive World, for example:
Implicit in her story is are three further important points:
  • despite Conductive Education's potential contribution to the lives of adults with cerebral palsy, at any stage and in in all sorts of situations, it may be very hard indeed to find a conductor to help – or better still, a setting (and the money to pay)
  • the fundamental tenets of a conductive life are wholly compatible with the progressive goals of the disability movement (perhaps this no longer needs saying – perhaps)
  • it's a lifelong battle...

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