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Saturday 19 April 2008

What do Children Need?

I found a very interesting article abandoned on the window sill at work this morning. I have no idea where it came from, the only information on it states that it is an interview with Kinderpsychiater (child psychiatrist) Prof. Gunther Moll and Neurobiologie und Gehirnforscher (research neurobiologist) Prof. Ralph Dawirs, both from Erlangen.

The very first sentence reads:

“Was braucht ein kindliches Gehirn sich gesund zum enwicheln?“

which means

"What does a child’s brain need in order to develop healthily?”

Prof.. Dawirs stated that most people are of the understanding that we come into the world finished”, that is fully developed – but we are actually still nestlings and humans are in fact not fully developed when born. They still require communication/interaction with their environment.

When I read this I thought hold on a minute this all sounds very familiar. Did I write about this or was it Andrew Sutton, Norman Perrin or Dr Hári?

It was Dr Hári who wrote

“ The conductor creates the intercommunication and an active atmosphere (environment)”.

The interview continues to outline the mothering, educating/upbringing necessary to achieve this healthy development.

What I don’t understand is, if scientists around the world know what a so-called “normal” baby/child needs in order to develop a healthy brain/mind, why isn’t this then also the accepted path of learning for children with a disability. Why is it assumed that they need something different? Why do we, all over the world, have to fight for conductive upbringing as an accepted path?

Prof. Moll went on to talk about upbringing, saying that children need time, security, love and freedom to develop, which they often do not get:

“Many people think that the upbringing of children is self-kindled, but this just is not true.”

I think the upbringing of children is also seen differently in different countries. Upbringing (Erziehung, nevelés and vospitanie) is considered in some countries as work for each and every person who comes in contact with the child, – in others it is believed to be something that takes place naturally with not much intervention from others.

More words from Dr Hári:

“ The upbringing of (athetoid) children must include the same basic principles of pedagogy as in the upbringing and teaching of normal children. These basic principles of upbringing are also used in Conductive Education. The difference between the upbringing and teaching of normal children and conductive upbringing is solely the break-down of tasks for each child into parts, depending on his level in movement, speech and other functions.

The conductor’s most basic, crucial aim is the creation of initiative. The crux of the matter is to call into life a truly purposeful energy, as a result of which is created a single purpose, the ability to construct a goal-directed, high quality system, so the child’s upbringing should not have the fragmentation of many specialists with their own various aims.

The energy, on which we depend in the above system of upbringing can be created only in such an atmosphere. The child’s energy, his anticipation and the manifestation of his will are not in themselves enough…. The conductor, the teacher of the child, on the one hand helps the child achieve success and on the other teaches the correct manifestation of the child’s will and entails the correct way.”

Some points which come up in this piece from Dr Hári.

1. I talked about the creation of this energy that she mentioned in my earlier posting Nicht auf Zugeben. I experience the importance of this energy every day, and its great motivating power.

2. In Andrew Sutton's blog “Communication Problems…” from 14th April, there is a link which gives us insight into the life of a family where the children are seeing many specialists, fragmenting the children's upbringing. I do hope that this family and others like them are brave enough to take up the challenge and choose to envelop themselves and their families in a conductive upbringing.

As the child psychologist, professor Moll said in the article, children need time, security, love (intelligent love), freedom and space to grow and develop.

All of which is provided in a conductive setting.


For upbringing (English), Erziehung ( German), nevelés ( Hungarian) and vospitanie ( Russian), see Mária Hári on Conductive Pedagogy, edited by Gill Macguire and Andrew Sutton - section on translation, terminology and statistics.

For the upbringing of (athetoid) children, see Mária Hári: "The Conductive Upbringing of children with Athetosis", October 1981, in Mária Hári on Conductive Pedagogy

Norman Perrin: "Supporting families supporting disabled children into independent adulthood as active citizens, especially those with cerebral palsy and particularly through Conductive Education!".

Andrew Suttons blog “Communication Problems…” from 14th April

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