'Ask me not what I can do for children with cerebral palsy, but ask me what they can learn to do for themselves'

A. Peto

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Conductive Education (CE) is a holistic system of learning (hence education) for children and adults with neurological motor disorders which affects their ability to control movement and which can also cause a wide range of developmental difficulties. As well as motor difficulties, a further implications of damage to the central nervous system most likely will affect their social, communication and problem solving skills as well as their confidence. Conductive Education was initially developed for the needs of children with cerebral palsy although nowadays it is used to help all age group children and adults with other neurological disorders such as Parkinsons, multiple sclerosis, strokes and head injuries.

Conductive Education is an active and open lifelong approach for many children and adults that helps them living with their disabilities without fighting against them. It is a method of learning their own ways of doing 'things' and how to facilitate and manage their difficulties in a socially inclusive environment and then at any further stage of their lives.

The impact of CE can be seen not only in the improvement of their motor skills and functions but also in the development of their individual personalities and when they feel more positive about their future to lead independent, fulfilled lives at home, school or work.

Conductive Education it is not a cure - it is a long term process that can transform lives of many who with support of their families and friends are willing to stay committed, determined and motivated. Its ultimate goal is to allow them achieving their full potential in everyday situations today as well as in the future.

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There are many Conductive Education centres across the UK, that provide a range of structured and age appropriate CE sessions run by conductors. In the general terms, CE sessions usually take place in a group setting with people who have the same/similar condition or needs; or it could also be structured around the following age groups:

Parent & Child groups (birth to 3 years old)

It involves parent/ carer to work closely with the child, conductor and rest of the group, in order to understand the child individual needs and to find ways of encouragment to develop skills appropriate to the child’s age. Apart from gaining advice, better understanding of the child condition, it is also a great opportunity for parents to meet other families of children with similar difficulties.

Early Intervention groups (pre-school age)

Here the main focus is on allowing children to learn and develop skills independently of their parents / carers with other children. It is also a great preparation for further school education.

School groups (primary and potentially secondary school age)

Sessions would focus on overcoming learning difficulties, which are strongly associated with motor disorders. Children are challenged to gain more independence, to communicate more effectively within a group and to take care of their own needs; all supported by conducters and rest of the group. In more cases it will be integrated with the National School Curriculum.

Adult groups

It will be a continuity of the previous CE programmes which will be now implemented into an adulthood and perhaps into a work environment. In some circumstances, for instance in acquired head injuries or stroke, it could be only the beginning of the Conductive Education journey.

Idea behind the Conductive Education is to allow children and adults to work at their own pace and appropriately to their individual circumstances; above session structure is only a general example and it will not necessary fit all. Shaping the CE sessions, the focus should be on the individual goals and each group will have a programme designed specifically to meet both the group and the individual goals.

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