Tuesday, 18 July 2017


An adult posting

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling
Rear cover of Judit Forris's book on András Pető

Two recent disability-related items in the popular media in the UK:

They have in common parental concerns about their young-adult children and sex. Neither story is about Conductive Education, nor even about motor disorder – but they could be. Motor disorders may raise the same sort of dilemmas, for young men and women with motor-disorders, and for their families, and also for those who work with them. And those for who are older too.

If conductive pedagogy and upbringing (lifestyle) do creep slowly up the adult age ranges then there seems no way that sex can fail to become an ever more pressing topic to the sector. After all, what are the major preoccupations in the lives of adult human beings? There is no single definitive list in reply to this question. Work? Well yes, that is surely a central factor to be factored into much continuing conductive practice with adults. Add social relationships, group-membership, friendship, love.

And sex – that ever-interesting topic – is often the most interesting of all.

Sex on the curriculum

If continuing Conductive Education does become more widely discussed, where's the recorded knowledge base – at its most basic the recorded practical experience and wisdom that has been shared and accumulated within Conductive Education over the decades? I know that over those decades motor-disordered people, their nearest and dearest, conductors, institutions, families, have mdt this aspect of life, confronted problems, failed and triumphed – in many possible ways, – but such instances have remained individual experiences, only rarely shared even at the level of personal reminiscence or anecdote. They have remained private and personal, rather that passing into the public, the professional, even the academic realms.

Where is the written record can be passed on formally others, and shared in training experiences at every level, from short courses to professional conductor training? The answer, as far as I can discern, in nowhere. This identifies one (another) important gap in the ready expertise to continue Conductive Education across into and through adulthood.

While it is right to expect all conductors to adapt and extend their knowledge with anything relevant to a given personal situation, some professional preparation on a topic that not everyone may find easy might make it easier to get started.

If continuing Conductive Education is to be genuinely holistic in any real sense of the word with respect to its adult clients (never mind younger ones) then practically and theoretically it has surely to include attention to the sexual side of human life.


Image result for "Ekiwah Adler"

In 2012, in Hong Kong, at the 7th World CE Congress I had the pleasure to met the Mexican poet Ekiwah Adler-Beléndez and hear him passionately declaim his poem The woods – 


She pushed
my wheelchair
into the woods.

Before I could
tuck myself under
the heavy blanket
of a metaphysical subject —
a midsummer night descended
suddenly upon us
and we slipped
into bodies of moss and leaf,
braided by the thin strands of the rain.

Her hair,
a labyrinth of orange light,
her eyes alert like skittish mares
the turn of her voice
bright autumn.

I, with her in my arms...
became at once
a line of smoke
where sky meets sea
over the world's
curved blue lip
and one coherent piece
of cosmic clay
feeling wanted for the first time
not in spite of my body
but because of it
every one of my cells opening
into gardens of motion and silence.

Then like a smiling skull
cut out of tissue paper
and strung in a row of prayer flags
for the time when the dead
laugh with the living
our day floated through the night.

Ekiwah has cerebral palsy, and knows Conductive Education.. In 2010 he had started a blog, Love on wheels: sex, love and disability. It did not last long. It had run into something that has daunted so many bloggers who have so much to say. Looking back in 2012, he wrote (his emphasis) –

When I think about it I have had some wonderful sexual experiences even if they have been few, I've known romance, I've known what is to fall in love, out of love, to be heart broken and break peoples hearts so goodbye self-pity. If I don't compare my sexual life to those of others -- I've had a pretty good time with its ups and downs. So goodbye blog? I don't know. I NEED MORE COMENTS AND FEEDBACK TO KEEP THIS BLOG GOING. I WONT BE OFFENDED IF I DONT GET THEM, BUT IT IS NOT WORTH WHILE IF THEY ARE JUST MESSAGES IN A BOTTLE IN THE MIDDLE OF CYBERSPACE. 

In 2012 he made one further (and uncharacteristically brief) posting –

I will soon be a father. I already am...

Despite his earlier involvement with Conductive Education, Ekiwah did not draw Conductive Education into his discussion. His blog remains on line, perhaps to be continued...

Margarita with a Straw


Also useful background material, explicit about sexuality in the context of young-adult cerebral palsy, is this Bollywood film released in 2015:

Mention of this film on Conductive World's blog:

Since then, attempts have been made (not by myself!) to post this film on YouTube but these have been rejected, for copyright reasons. Be careful if you check on this on YouYube. There some there that promise 'the full movie'. Beware of scams and malware. 

Judit Forrai at Moira

Judit is a sexologist, a bit of a polymath, and a friend of Conductive Education. In 2012 she made a 90-minute contribution to one of its Tudásszomj ['Thirst for knowledge'] study days organised in Budapest by Moira, entitled Szerelem, szex mindenkinek?

The title of Judit's presentation in English translation: 'Love and sex for everyone'

As mentioned on Conductive World:

Judit is affiliated to Semmelweis Medical University. Perhaps Conductive Education will hear more of her in the future.

8th World Congress

The German-organised CE World Congress, held in Fürstenfeldbruck near Munich in 2014, made a bold attempt to attract relevant contributions on relevant themes. In the event, however only one oral contribution materialised. made by two physicians Gerlinde Debus and Ralph Burtscher

There is an abstract of this in the Congress's Abstract Book:

Debus, G., Burtscher R. (2013) Sexuality, contraception,in the 9th World Congress, in Budapest in 2016 pregnancy and parenthood in disabled women, Abstract Book, 8th World Congress on Conductive Education, Furstenfeldbruck, October, pp. 188-189

This Abstract Book was on line in the months immediately following the Congress. The whole website for that Congress appears to have been taken down and I can no longer find this abstract other than in my own hard copy. Does anyone know whether it is still live, somewhere obscure?

There was also a poster accepted, from Dr Debus plus three others:

Most unusually, this appears in the Abstracts Book as a much-reduced image of the poster itself. The result is text that for the most part requires much better eyes and a much better magnifying glass than my own. The formal content of the poster is more physiological than pedagogic. Tha concluding lines of the poster are written in slightly larger script, and with effort I can just about read them. In English translation I think that they read something like this – 

If it is possible for an 65-year-old woman to get pregnant, then it must also be possible for a disabled woman to get pregnant – Dr G. Debus

Debus, G., Winkler U., Schmid, J.. Vogel, S. Gynäkologische Ambulanz für behinderte Frauen an der Frauenklinik Dachau, ibid., p. 307

His words introduce an ethical dimension relevant to all aspects of Conductive Education possible relevance to the sexual life of its potential clients

There was nothing in the programme of the 9th World Congress two years later in Budapest.

Conductive World: does size matter?

In addition to the postings already mentioned above, Conductive World has carried just one other posting on this topic:

Of course, there may be a lot going on that I never hear of. The view from here does, however, rather suggest that there was perhaps just a little publicly stated interest and activity a few years ago but like many other topics in Conductive World this has remained tucked away out of public view.

For what it is worth, the statistics for the numbers views of previous postings on Conductive World mentioned here have (to date) been as follows

Sex, love, disability (2010) 166 views, 0 Comments

Love on wheels (2012) 242 views, 4 Comments

Sex for everyone (20 ) 627 views, 0 Comments

Margarita (2015) 176 views, 0 Comments

Margarita (2017) 254 views, 0 Comments

A blog's postings may be visited. That does necessarily mean that they are read, in part or in their entirety. Longer items (like this present one, and some of the links that it refers to) may not be read, especially by those for whom reading English is not easy. 

And finally...

A correspondent of mine, before she became a conductor worked as a women's counsellor and has carried her experience and understandings from this over into her conductive practice with disabled adults. 

Knowing that I was going to write something on this topic, she wrote to me –

As an ugly aside – sexual abuse/assault is a very serious conversation for people with disabilities, especially in care/residential/group homes... Are you going to talk about the taboo possibility of conductors being involved with clients? You might get young people with c.p. rising to this one.

Well, I haven't, just something else for others, including herself, eventually to bring into the public domain. Like so much else in Conductive Education, this may now depend upon the new generation...

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