My visitors today

Thursday 30 September 2010

Blogging on a bike

Landscape by Susie Mallett
September 2010

Conversing with nature again

I was cycling home in the lovely evening sun, watching geese flying in formation, crows landing on newly ploughed fields, and smelling the freshly picked garlic that gives the area between home and work its name: "Knoblachsland", Garlic-land.

Catching whizzing words

I have recently learnt how I can catch the thoughts that pop up between my observatons of nature while cycling. I also now know how to keep the thoughts safe until I get a chance to write them down.

I love having this new-found skill. Over the years that I have been cycling, fifty or more, so many thoughts have whizzed into my head and whizzed out again. All lost for ever because they were travelling much too fast to be caught on my bike without a notebook.

I have improved this skill of catching thoughts yet some more since I have been blogging and that is why it is on my bike that many draft postings are written.

I actually drafted one today. I started it on the way in, getting on quite well with it until I was interrupted by some lovely red rose-hips that I just had to stop to pick as material for the next crafty project. The rest I drafted on the way home.

By the time I got home it was dark, by the time I had run a bath it was late, and by the time I had dried by hair it was time to go to sleep.

It is even later now with all thoughts of posting bike-written blogging gone, but I will still put up the latest news about the conference that is taking place in Würzburg next month and then may even take a peek at what more has been written on the blogosphere about Mária Hári, if anything.


I received an invitation from the German Conductor Association telling me that it is giving its members a special discount if they attend for both days. As I mentioned in my first postings about this conference, I, and I expect many conductors, have to work until 17.00 each Friday so I will not be able to take up the special offer. I will race to Würzburg on the ICE train on Saturday morning.

The invitation that I received is for the seventh congress that has been organised by the German Conductor Association with a series of different partners. This year the Association's partners are the Verein Fortschritt Würzburg e.V, that is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary, and the conductive centre of the Institute for the Blind that is celebrating its tenth anniversary.

The organisers are happy to include in the programme scientists from the area of clinical research and from rehabilitation. Through the presentations, workshops and discussions it is hoped that a connection can be found between the results of current research projects and their effects on modern therapy and the work of András Petö, and the practise of conductive pedagogy.

The full programme is published here:
A translation of the first programme I received can be found on my blog:

I began this posting yesterday evening but fell asleep before I had finished it!

In the early hours of this morning I received more information about the congress from Wolfgang Vogt.

Bitte um Unterstützung
Würzburg ist eine Reise wert

Liebe Freunde,

unser Kongress naht - mit Spannung. Ich freue mich, dass es gelungen ist, genau diese Referenten zu gewinnen um das tolle Programm auf die Beine zu stellen. Wir wollen die Förderung für Menschen mit Hirnschädigungen weiter vornan bringen. Diese Menschen haben ein so großes Potenzial, welches leider viel zu häufig brach liegt. Man traut ihnen einfach zu wenig zu. Oft mit fatalen Folgen - für die ganze Familie.

Wir wollen auf dem Kongress gemeinsam schauen, wie die vorhandenen Instrumentarien, Erkenntnisse, Studien und Erfahrungen besser genutzt werden können. Und mit neuem Wissen verknüpft, zu höherer Effizienz und größerem Nutzen führen.

Na gut, bevor ich weiter in meinem Lieblingsthema aushole: Es wäre toll wenn Ihr helft und die Information über den Kongress an möglichst viele Menschen versendet und sie bitten könntet, die eMail wiederum weiterzusenden. Auch wenn diese nicht betroffen sind. Ich habe gelernt, dass jeder irgendwie jemanden kennt. Ob Betroffene, Familien oder Fachleute. Kommt also gern selbst und/oder gebt die Bitte weiter.

Wir brauchen Öffentlichkeit und Unterstützung. Jeder einzelne Mensch ist wichtig und hat seine ihm eigene Bedeutung. Unsere Victoria ist meine Motivation aufzuzeigen, was möglich ist. Auf ganz normalen Wegen, gesunden Menschenverstand, Hoffnung, Zuversicht. Ich höre nicht auf zu helfen, die Welt ein bischen zu verbessern. Utopie? Wie sagte Erich Kästner: "Es gibt nichts Gutes, ausser man tut es." Egal wie klein oder groß.

Ich danke und grüße Euch -

Please support us
Würzburg is worth a journey

Dear Friends

Our congress nears with anticipation.I am pleased that I have been able to attract the presenters that we have and produce such a good programme.

We want to bring the rehabilitation/habilitation of people who have suffered brain injury another step forwards. These people have a huge potential which unfortunately often lies untapped. There is just too little belief in them and their abilities. Often with fatal results for them and their families.

At our congress we wish to join together to look at how all previous knowledge, studies and experiences in the field can be put to better use, how it can be linked with new discoveries and lead to a higher level of efficiency and better understanding.

OK, before I get too enveloped in to my favourite subject, it would be a great help if you could pass on the information about the congress to as many people as possible and ask them to send the information on to others. it does not matter if the poeple are not directly invloved with disability. I have learnt that everyone knows someone somewhere with a disability. Disabled, families or professionals, please come yourselves or send on the inforamtion to others.

We need publicity and support. Every single person is important and has their own values. Our Viktoria is my motivation to demonstrate what is possible to achieve along an everyday path, with a healthy, human understanding, hope and expectation. I will not stop trying to help, or trying to make the world just a little bit better place.Utopia? As Erich Kästner said:" There is nothing good, apart from man doing it." No matter how big or how small.

I thank you and send best wishes,


I will only be able to attend on the Saturday. I will miss hearing what some of the guests that Wolfgang is so pleased to have attending say, but I hope that there will be abstracts available or their complete presentaions will be published online so that I will be able to catch up later.


Knoblauchsland -

Wolfgang Vogt -
Vorsitzender FortSchritt Würzburg e.V.
Vorsitzender Bundesverband FortSchritt e.V.
Hilfe für hirn- und nervengeschädigte Kinder und Erwachsene

Würzburg congress -

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Mária Hári

"My favourite photo"
A big step forward in my life
June 1993, PAI,

Dr Mária Hári with ten of her "Birmingham conductors"
On the steps of PAI
June 1993

Thinking about or remembering

I think a lot about András Petö, I wonder about him and his life, I have read some of the plays that he wrote and I write about him too. Only yesterday he got a mention over on my Offspring Blog:

But what about Mária Hári? I do not write about her enough.

Being influenced by

Andrew Sutton is right in his posting today. Too little is said about her, although she was the person at the PAI who had the greatest influence, directly and indirectly, on my conductor training. And what is more I knew her, whereas András Petö is like a mythical image to me.

I had very little personal contact with Mária Hári. She gave lectures in the first years of our training to all the Hungarian and foreign students together. There were a couple of hundred of us in the lecture hall listening to her voice, some like me hanging on to her every word. Although at the beginning I listened to a sometimes-good-sometimes-bad translation, later I abandoned the earphones and listened to her Hungarian and even later still we got her to ourselves. Just ten British students and Mária. For a whole year of Friday mornings she taught us, spoke with us and questioned us in English. It was a delight and a privilege.

It was a really interesting time with her. I would sit there engrossed, enjoying every minute. Watching her, observing her bird-like movements and listening to her words. Often I would make little sketches of her on the corner of my note books.

Coming to an understanding

Over the past few years I have begun to realise how much of what Dr Mária Hári told us actually sunk in, although at the time I had believed that I had not understood very much at all. I think it was often the case with Mária Hári that she could only be understood if you already knew what she was talking about. As students this was rarely the case, how could we know know what she was talking about. We were there to learn from her and from others. Now sometimes I do know, and now-a-days I often recall what she said. I ask myself whether she knew that one day I would understand and discover uses for what she told us.

Over the last few years there have been many moments when the "penny has dropped" . Moments when I realise why it was that I had understood but had not really understood at the time, what Mária had said to us.

Special treats: coffee and time

The most personal contact I had with Dr Hári was at exam time. I loved this time despite the nerves, and always wished desperately to get it right and do well for her. I found it extremely important to do well for her, she thought a lot of us and really wanted us to succeed. She was very sad on her last-ever lecture day with us. We were her last ever "Birmingham students", as she called us. She was so happy to be able to give us a special treat! Coffee, strong hungarian coffee, served in her office, that she had made for us herself.

At my very last conductive pedagogy exam we spoke for what seemed like hours. My fellow students, who were in same the room, madly writing notes for their exam answers, were as delighted as I was that my exam took so long. They had more time to prepare their answers or even better had more time to listen in to gather a few tips and I got almost a full hour of Dr Hári's time, just for me.

I knew of one subject that was dear to Mária Hári's heart and I wanted to discuss it with her so I twisted the question I had picked for my exam so I could include this in my answer. We hit it off for a short time, but lonf enough that she remembered it when she presented me with my diploma. That was another moment that I will never forget; when she acknowledged the tears of joy in my eyes, and heard the words of gratitude as I thanked her, before she wished me well for my future life as a conductor.

Her well wishes have always been with me and in some ways also that wish to succeed

Wondering, imagining, sometimes even feeling, what she might have said

There were very few, very special moments with her. But since 1993, when I said my goodbyes, there have been many more very special moments for me when I have remembered Mária Hári.
There have been times of doubt when I have thought about her and been reassured by my memories and been convinced that she would have liked what I am doing. There have been many moments when I am at a loss and have imagined what she would have advised me to do.

The best help of all that I have received from my memories was quite recently. This was when couple of years ago I was asked to speak to a group of fifty people with Parkinson's disease. I was so nervous with my funny accent, my not very loud voice and my over prepared presentation that I was very near to stumbling over my own feet. That was until I thought about Mária Hári and decided to do what she did in similar situations. I had seen her do it and heard about her doing it too. She had even told us herself about why she did it. So I kicked of my shoes as she had often done and demonstrated what I was talking about. I have heard that it always went down a treat with Dr Hári, it went down a treat for me too.

Andrew, you write at the top of your posting:
"Remember Mária"

I think that those who knew her can not avoid doing so. She pops up in my life on almost every working day and often on holi-days too. I still often have that feeling of wanting to do well for her because she wanted so much for us to succeed. She would want me to say I wish to do well for myself and I do but she is there, somewhere in the background, hoping.

For those who did not know her it is more difficult but I think it is possible for them to get a feel of who she was and what she was like by reading what she has written and what has been written about her, there are many people around still to tell stroeis about her of their own personal expereinces.

Those who did not know her can, just like me, look forward to reading those written up notes of Andrew Sutton's this time next year.


Susie Mallett:

Monday 27 September 2010

One language, the soul

The Adler

Turkish department will soon be leaving me high and dry in the German-language department! The Turkish member of our little group of six nationalities is speaking such a lot these days, with long sentences and lots of questions.

When we were out in the hall last week having climbed the stairs to look out of the window across the fields to the dual carriageway where there are always lots of lovely cars and lorries, he picked up a leaflet from the bench. The leaflet described an outing to a children’s fun-park. It was the picture of the Adler on the front that had attracted him. It is the one-hundred-and-seventy-fifth birthday of the Deutsche Bahn. The Adler, the first ever train in Germany that followed soon after Stephenson’s Rocket in Britain, and its journey between Fürth and Nürnberg is being celebrated just about everywhere in the area. There are posters about it all over the place and I was quite delighted to discover that this littlie from our Kindergarten had been keeping his eyes peeled while out and about in the city.

"Wo ist das Eisenbahn?" he asked me. Where is the railway?

Now that is quite sophisticated way for a five-year old “foreigner” to ask. He could just as easily have asked me where the train is, but he knows, just like all us Eisenbahn enthusiast do, that it is a railway!

I eagerly read the leaflet to him and explained about the Play-mobile advert for a toy railway that was on the back. Play-mobile is build just down the road from our Kindergarten, most of our children have been there many times.

The little boy put the leaflet in his bag beside his lunch box to take home for Mum.

That was not the end of it

Sometimes I wonder how little boys know. They seem to sense they have the right person before them. this child was not the first one who has got me talking about and eventually playing trains! Take a look at the photo here:

All last week each time this little Turkish boy saw me, arriving with my bike, leaving with my bike, collecting lunch dishes, or while working together he asked me about railways but never about trains. He asked and asked until eventually he discovered that yes indeed I have an Eisenbahn at home. In fact he discovered that as well as having a layout on the coffee table I have three railways still packed away in boxes. Those that I recently bought for three euros each at the cheap and cheerful shop!

“Will you bring a railway?”

“When will you bring a railway?”

“Have you got the railway in your bike?”

The questions changed everyday, very cleverly I thought, until it was a matter of fact that the railway would be brought, it was only now a question of when.

Today was the day

I had packed the railway in my bike pannier on Friday evening just so I did not forget it. I also remembered to pick up a battery for the engine as I went out of the door this morning.

When I arrived the children were playing together with cars and farmyards and houses. I was sure that they had not even noticed me slip into the changing room with my bags, but one had and I heard him ask:

"Wo ist das Eisenbahn?"

My colleague had no idea what he was talking about , but I did. I shouted out that it was in my bag.

We made a plan for later

After breakfast we would stand at the table and a layout would be made. Bridges would be build, roads too with cars and lorries driving on them, tunnels improvised from other toys and people watching the world go by. No other motivation was needed to get through the next hour or so now we knew that the Eisenbahn was in town!

What is it about little boys and Eisenbahns?

And little girls too?

They were all thrilled and so careful with it. Wide eyed and at loco level they played for what seemed like forever, absolutely oblivious that they were practising standing and fine motor movements. We were just playing and as always having fun in, six languages. One common denominator was the love of the Eisenbahn.

I think my three-euro layout may be staying for the duration of this three-week “Petö” group!


The Adler :

Sunday 26 September 2010

Just a snippet about going home and growing up

"My Mum by my Dad"
by K.L.Mallett

The “norm”

It is something rather special when the new remains exciting but at the same times gets absorbed into daily happenings and gradually becomes the “norm”. But still the rather special norm!

Life in the second school year is becoming easier for our afternoon Petö children. After a year of being transported here and there between school home and afternoon group we have at last streamlined the whole thing.

Classes now go on until 13.00 instead of 11.30, so we are missing out the middle man and the children are picked up after lessons and brought straight to me for lunch and a bit of fun!

The middle man has been a grandma or a granddad, or a mum or a dad who has provided a lunch at home.

After a year of finding our feet, taking it step by step our work with the school children is beginning take on a routine that suits their abilities and their family life. We are going to provide what ever the children need every afternoon of the week. This includes learning to swim and riding, help if necessary with homework, and continuing with the three afternoons having fun with me!

It sounds a lot but it will be calmer than the coming and going they have had when school finished earlier.

The special achievements of the last year are now part of life

Jolly professor does not fall over in the group anymore. His balancing act on the bench, his stepping stones practise, walking in the street and on the field, and walking over and onto boxes all seems to have made him at last aware that he has feet. What’s more he looks where he puts them.

He is also aware that things are sometimes in his path, because of this awareness he has improved so much that he almost can cycle home from school all on his own! He looks where he is going.

There is just one obstacle in his way to achieving this independence. One piece of pavement, where all the children and mums with prams cross over, is just too high for him on his bike. We are getting in touch with the council to get it lowered, citing of course not only his bike but the mums with their prams too.

Going home alone in the second school year is really the thing to be doing and we are getting there with these children.

It is such a lovely feeling to see Little Princess look at the clock and realise that at 16.20 she must get on her way as someone will be waiting at her garden gate. It has been a joy to observe how quickly she has got into her new routine and with so much pleasure. She checks that all her belongings are in a heap for someone to collect later then she make her way to her rolator. She asks me to buckle her in (for safety reasons when she is out and about alone), and with a wave to her friends she is off, homeward bound. It is something so matter of fact for her but at the same time she still enjoys the gasps of astonishment from the other mums who pass her as they collect their Kindergarten children.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Back to work

"Animal imaginations", Altendorf 2003
by Susie Mallett

And it has been wonderful as always.

My colleague has been back working in the integrated Kindergarten for a week or two already and in their beginning-of-the-new-year team meeting she managed to negotiate something that we have been wishing for for over a year now. Something that is so important to us, a much valued quantity:


We how have three hours at the beginning of each Kindergarten Petö-block all on our own, just me and my colleague. Our four children remain with all the other children and staff so we can make plans for them!

What luxury not to have to do this over a cup of coffee at one of our two homes or in the local café.

Apart from the time we spend together working with the very little littlies from the Montessori-Petö Kindergarten my colleague and I rarely see each other for more than just a wave good morning or a shout good bye though the window. So we really are very grateful to be given this time to get prepared for when four children with four different languages appear on the doorstep. We now make up a group of six people and six languages.

So although I was back at work on Monday it was not the same sort of work as with the children.

The following day after our preparations we only had two children with us but had the occasional visit from the very new three-year old who was to join us full time for the rest of the week. We had a lot of fun on our first day, I am sure the fun will continue.

It is amazing that despite a very long holiday for both our five year old boys, one was in Greece for eight weeks and the other in Turkey for just as long, they have progressed enormously. Large families back home have been working very hard all summer on bringing them up, spoiling them rotton, and giving them lots of love.

On his first day back our little Greek boy was more active than we have ever seen him. We are not sure if his speed at rolling, sliding, bunny hopping and crawling was to do with the fact that his grandma has been playing with him all summer or whether it was because we have a lovely new floor surface to play on that the children love.Which ever it is he is doing really well.

As the week has gone on the children have continued to show us all the new skills that they have acquired. They have taken the new littlest of littlies to their hearts and one little boy particularly enjoys taking her to the bathroom to show her how to wash her hands. He is an only child and seems to love taking on the role of big brother. For two days she has just gazed at him with adoring eyes! Her new-at-Kindergarten-tears have dried up.

It is autumn

We have a real Indian- Summer with lots of sunshine and reddening leaves with the temperatures in the mid-twenties all week.

Today the staff from the Kindergarten brought in a crate full of pumpkins.

Did you ever look at the funny shapes pumpkins come in?

Just like when cloud watching, it is easy to image the pumpkins as animals, swams and ducks elephants , penguins and snakes jump into the imagination.

That is what we did today, we imagined animals. We played animal-naming games, some guessing-animal-noises games and afterwards had some great paint-your-animal-pumpkin fun.

The results are not quite as professional as those my colleague and I saw in a local village autumn festival, but we are very pleased with them.

I forgot to take photographs of both the new motivating-flooring and the pumkins. They will have to feature in a later posting.

It has been a really busy and exciting week at our conductive centre, with lots of action in the groups, lots of new arrangements to be made and new projects being developed.

I know that I am going to have lots to write about in the next few weeks on this blog at least. I am hoping that I will receive some articles soon to keep the other one rolling along too.

Monday 20 September 2010

Something old, something borrowed,....

"Autumn at its very best" by Susie Mallett
16th September 2010

....something new!

Although there may be an autumnal break here, over on "Susie Mallett's Conductive Upbringing and Lifestyle" a new season is kicking off.

If you are looking for something to read on upbringing please take a look at:

Sunday 19 September 2010

Cloud watching in Norfolk






The autumnal break is not over

I can not be as sure as Andrew is, over on Conductive World, that my break from blogging is over, but my three-weeks' holiday certainly is. It is back to work tomorrow, although I do not seem to have stopped working since I left Nürnberg at the end of August.

A working holiday

It has certainly been a working-holiday, and even in parts a busman’s! I am not complaining, but I do wish sometimes that I were the sort of person to go on holidays in exotic, faraway places, and could relax just a little bit in the sun.

I have been spending my time in a makeshift office at my home-from-home, doing things that self-employed conductors have to do, things that we have to do while not at "work”.

Apart from sorting out,writing reports, sending invoices and filling in tax forms, there is also preparation for immediate work, sorting out the work-timetable for the next six months and of course the presentation for Hong Kong to finish. I am almost up to date, but still there is little time to spare for meeting friends and blogging.

Between all this work I managed two cuddles with my great-niece, one walk on the beach with my oldest friend, a shopping trip with my sister, two cups of coffee with two newer friends, some phone calls with others, and lots and lots of gardening.

The cuddles and smiles from Aimee are as always a treat that I cherish during the months between my visits.

The walk on the beach with my oldest friend is a ritual of all my visits to Norfolk,. Sometimes we manage two. It is has become a very important link to Norfolk and something that I hate to miss. Phone calls or cups of coffee with other friends help to keep my links to "home“ alive.

The shopping trip with Sis was the one that is essential to all Brits living abroad, a quick whizz around Norwich to get all those essentials that I cannot live without. I had to forfeit the usual slow walk to all my old haunts. The walk to places like "Head-in-the-Clouds“ where I always bought my flat leather hippy-sandals as a teenager and still love to rummage around in its pot pourri of oddities that have become familiar to me over the years of travel. As a fourteen-year- old buying slipper-socks from Afghanistan with my mum it was a very strange, exotic and wonderful world for us both.

My sister and I were visiting shops like Marks & Spencer. This is, I read, where one-in-four ladies in Britain buy their ,underwear. I am no different and when I was there it was crowded, perhaps that was due to the advertising campaign in the Sunday papers for the new lines that have recently appeared on the shelves. I tried some of them on, but decided not to part with my money!

Another shop on the list is Waterstone’s which nowadays, after all the credit-crunching, is about the only large book store in the city centre. In the book store I had another underwear mission. Not for me this time but for my littlies in Germany. I was after the new Aliens and Underpants book. Certainly a "must" for Brits abroad!

I found the book, and what’s more it was a two-for-the-price-of-one offer! So I came away also with a new copy of the first book about dinos and underpants, this time complete with a CD.

Although I was a bit surprised by this offer in a book shop I have got used to coming across such things in the supermarket. On this trip to England I came face-to-face all the time with posters and signs offering me more than I really wanted, for almost less than I thought I would spend on things that I did not know I needed!

The gardening was the reason that I took the unfinished work to England instead of doing it at home in Nürnberg.

I did sort of shifts. I sat at my card-table desk, the jigsaw table from my childhood, in my Mum’s room, that is full of her treasures and memories. I typed away surrounded by happy memories and looked out into the lovely garden until I could resist it no longer. I took a break in the gorgeous summer sun under gorgeous Norfolk skies, with their characteristic flat bottomed clouds and pulled out heaps of weeds.

Weeds are the bane of my father’s life at the moment!

As always on my September holidays in Norfolk I was blessed with weeks of the gorgeous sunny, but cool, days of late summer. Some were windy days with flat-bottomed clouds hanging heavy with a shower in the sky, then came blue skies and rainbows.

My Father and I, together with our lovely neighbour, are planning how to make the three- quarters-of-an acre garden easier for all three of us to manage.

I helped with cutting the lawn for the first time ever! I was only allowed to do half of it, an area about the area of just one tennis court. I was surprised to feel the sweat dripping down my face in the same way that I have witnessed on my Dad when he was doing the same job for over forty years. It was hard work but lovely to see all those stripes at the end.

The next step is making half of the enormous vegetable plot into a wild flower garden. I removed the huge weeds in preparation for the digging that the neighbour will do over the next few weeks. The digging will not be hard. I dug the entire patch thoroughly last autumn as preparation for the planting of shallots. It will be done again in an attempt to get rid of the bind weed that my mother had in control but never really got on top of.

Homeward bound

I began to write this posting on the plane when the working holiday was coming to an end, while I was flying above the gorgeous clouds wondering where the time had gone. I feel like I have been in England forever and I realise that I have actually done quite a lot when I begin to list it all in the way that I do with the children on their "Things to tell Mama“ lists.

But was it a holiday? Will I feel refreshed when I get up at six on Monday morning and will I jump on my bike or crawl on to the tram?

The language

On the plane I was wondering how I would manage to start speaking German, every word of which disappears when I am in the green and pleasant land.

No worries on that count I was thrown in the deep end. Both of my girlie friends phoned me on Saturday to welcome me back and one suggested I join her and two of her friends at the local Vietnamese restaurant. I had difficulties understanding them when it was noisy, I had difficulties finding words to join in their conversations, but as I was happy to sit silently and listen it did not matter. It also did not matter when I put in an English word now and again; it was too noisy for them to notice.

I have spent the weekend trying to get used to being alone again, unpacking, washing and trying to finish the work before the next work piles up.

I have been practicing my German again this afternoon which I hear now has an even broader Norfolk accent then before. I have been practising in readiness for the now six-language Kindergarten Petö group that starts in the morning. Some kind of international sign language would probably be better suited, so I had better get the paints out.

I have taken a break. I am in the Cafè Fatal for the last few hours of Sunday sun and holiday. I may even get onto the hot-spot and post this from here.

Google sends all sorts of things that make me think

By Susie Mallett
September 2nd 2010

A thought for the autumnal day

My enforced autumnal break is not yet over, but I hope that it is slowly coming to an end.

I just wanted to post this, an alert from Google:

The sources of information at the end of this article are stated as Wikipedia, March of Dimes and the Smirthwaite furniture suppliers website called "conductive-ed".

I am posting this not because I am desperate for something to write about. I just think that it is interesting because of where I found it and what it is hidden amongst, more exactly what it is part of.

This article on conductive education is written by one Jayant R. Row from India, one of one- hundred-and-thirty-three postings, all but a few of which are about civil engineering, home improvements and project management.

Dotted amongst the information on how to fix a composting toilet and how to spackle a ceiling, there are some articles to read about child development and other human conditions. As well as the article on conductive education there is one on finding employment if suffering from Asperger's syndrome:

There is also one on growing organic carrots, four on emotional development in teenage relationships, one on puberty and another on panic attacks. There are three others about keeping teens busy in their vacations and forming friendships. In total there are some twelve articles that are not about home improvement and engineering.

This made me think that this is where conductive upbringing should be. Not hidden amongst the elements that make up life, but there in amongst everything else that we do in our lives. It must be a small a part of a whole that is inconspicuous in its presence but has its role in making life unified.

This collection of articles by Jayant R Row is unified by the presence of these few articles on human development.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Magic camp

My young client in northern Germany, the one I usually refer to as Laddo, tells me, more than most do, that it seems like magic to him when he discovers a new trick to help him gain greater control of his out-of-control athetoid limbs.

Many other children and adults have said that is seems like magic when we discover a way of doing something that gives them success. I always try to convince them that it is their hard work and not magic that does the trick but, just like all of us, they generally like to believe that a little bit of magic is involved.

Whatever they choose to believe that it is, it always makes them smile. As they use their new-found “magic” trick more and more in their lives, they smile more and more. They are really happy with the new-found freedom of movement that they have discovered. This is the hard work that "magically" transforms their lives.

A copy of the London Evening Standard fell into my hands yesterday. There is a lot more to read in it than in many of the British national papers so my perusal took quite some time. Eventually I reached page twenty eight, where a headline caught my eye:

“Magic therapy for youngsters

Followed by:

“Card tricks help patients with motor disorders”

Whenever I make a presentation about my work, I always begin by explaining that the most important thing for me is to discover, for a conductive upbringing to be successful, is what motivates my clients. When I can motivate my clients, when I can find out what it is that sparks off their lust for life, they become active and their souls become healthy, they begin to be able to motivate themselves. As we all know, with healthy souls all activity becomes easier. The will to live active lives becomes the motivation to be active.

There goes that conductive spiral again!

There before my eyes in the London Evening Standard was a lovely story about children with motor disorders attending a “Magic Camp” at Guy’s Hospital in London. It sounded just the right kind of exciting stuff for motivating little boys and girls and developing healthy souls! This article reminded me very much of my recent stories about "Papier Maché Camp" and "Dinos and Aliens love Underpants Camp".

Magic, dino, painting or papier maché camp, call it what you will. Whatever the name it all comes down to the same thing in the end, finding out what motivates clients.

The article begins:

“A boy of eight whose hand was paralysed by a brain condition has been helped “by magic” after undergoing pioneering therapy.”

I thought the wording a bit misleading in this first paragraph, it suggested to me that the child was “undergoing” something passive, something was being done to him, but I have been reassured that this is language used these days in England when talking about "therapy". I suppose that I really would have rather liked the headline to read “Conductive magic camp at Guy’s hospital”. Maybe one day!

The young boy attended a ten-day camp during which he learned “tricks developed for children with motor disorders by Magic Circle magicians”. Presumably the same tricks that children without a disability would perform, but adapted how and when required.

We are told that this child left the camp able to throw a tennis ball and to eat using a knife and fork. He could also complete complex actions, such as opening a packet of crisps or undoing a sweet wrapper.

I am still thinking that the title would have been better if it had said “Conductive magic camp”!

At the camp children were taught card games and circus skills and magic to make them use the affected limbs.

The Magic Camp followed on from a pilot project when Magic Circle magicians worked alongside the occupational therapists from Evelin Children’s Hospital to develop exercises.

I think I may be putting my Paper Maché Camps on the market soon, as we thought that they were quite magical too.


I have written about magic before:


London Evening Standard

Magic Camps at Guy’s Children’s Hospital

Guy’s Children’s Hospital

Friday 10 September 2010


Breydon Water and Berney Arms Windmill

Just look at those amazing Norfolk skies! Anne and the Forliti family in British Columbia, Canada!

I, a PAI Budapest-trained British conductor, living and working in Germany, send my very best wishes to Anne, a German conductor, trained in England, now living and working in Canada.

It seems, Anne, that we have both discovered that our worlds have no limits!

I wish you success and lots of fun in your new life in BC!

Thursday 9 September 2010

More on Bavaria's autumn Congress

My great-great grandmother, born 1828, aged about fifty

As promised, a translation of the full programme for the Würzburg Congress

Kongreß über die neuesten Erkenntnisse der Hirnforschung im Zusammenhang mit der Konduktiven Förderung.
Congress about the newest consolidated findings in brain research in relationship to Konduktive Förderung
(I will use the term Konduktive Förderung throughout becauses I have no idea which English word to use in translation for Förderung. My preference is advancement or training but these still do not always sound quite right).

Kongress 12. und 13.November 2010/ Congress 12th and 13th November, 2010

Tagungszentrum der Stadt Würzburg auf der Marienfestung
Conference centre of the city of Würzburg on Marienfestung

Titel: Forschung und Förderung für Kinder und Erwachsene mit Cerebralparese, MS, Schlaganfall, Parkinson und anderen neurologischen Dysfunktionen
Title: research and development for children and adults with cerebral palsy, MS, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological dysfunctions.

"Hirnschädigung aus medizinischer und pädagogisch/therapeutischer Sicht. Wie sollte eine Umsetzung aller Erkenntnisse in das tägliche Leben aussehen, um eine eigenaktive Teilhabe am Leben zu erreichen?"
"Brain damage from a medical and a pedagogic/therapeutic view point. How should the implementation into daily life of all the consolidated findings take place in order to achieve active participation in life?"

Eingeladen sind Mediziner, Pädagogen, Therapeuten, Pflegekräfte, Eltern, Betroffene, Politiker, Behörden, Einrichtungen, Organisationen und alle interessierten Personen
People are invited from the field of medicine, education, therapy, care, disability- including disabled people, politics, other institutions and organisations and all interested parties.
Schirmherrin: Präsidentin des Bayerischen Landtages Barbara Stamm
Patron: Patron: Barbara Stamm, President of the Bavarian Parliament

Freitag/ Friday 12.11.2010

9:00-11:30: Hospitationen bei Konduktiven Gruppen im Blindeninstitut und bei Fortschritt Würzburg e.V. Begrenzte Teilnehmerzahl, vorab Anmeldung unbedingt erforderlich!

Visiting conductive groups in the Institute for the Blind, and Fortschritt, Würzburg. Limited places available so early application for a place is necessary.

12:30: Empfang, Registrierung
Reception and registration

14:00: Begrüßung Georg Rosenthal, Oberbürgermeister Würzburg
Eröffnung & Ansprache Veranstalter, Kooperationspartner

Welcome and opening by the Lord Mayor of Würzburg, Georg Rosenthal

Moderation: Prof. Dr. Willibald Weichert, Uni Hamburg
Marlies Dumbsky, Würzburg/Volkach

14:30: Mariann Stelczerne-Oberst, Dipl. Konduktorin, Phoenix München, „Vorstellung Projekt Zukunftsfeste“
Introducing the project "Fit for the Future"

14:45: Keynote speeches
PD Dr. Petra Zeitler, Uni Würzburg & Frühförderzentrum, „Was kennzeichnet eine Cerebralparese“

Opening presentation:
„What indentifies cerebral palsy”

Prof. Dr. Anna-Leena Sirén, Uni Würzburg, „Grundlagen der Hirntätigkeit und Entstehung neuer Gehirnzellen aus klinischer Sicht“
"The fundamental principles of brain activity and the genesis of new brain cells, from a clinical point of view."

15:30 – 16:00: Pause/break

16:00 Prof. Dr. Volker Mall, Uni Freiburg „Plastizität des Nervensystems und ihre Auswirkung auf therapeutische Maßnahmen“
"The plasticity of the nervous system its influence upon therapeutic interventions/measures"

17:00 - 18:00: Beiträge und Austausch mit dem Publikum A/B:
Contributions and discussions from the audience

Beitrag A: „Die Bedeutung der Eltern- und Angehörigenarbeit für die Kindesentwicklung“ Lisa Pitz, Soz.Päd, PTK, FortSchritt Würzburg
Report A: “The importance of the parent's and relative's work on the development of a child”

Beitrag B: „ Persönliche Erfahrungen“: Paloma und Madeleine Krüger, Düsseldorf, Johanna Fuchs, Würzburg, Christian Pitz, Würzburg
Report B: „Personal experiences“

18:15: Podiumsdiskussion
Moderation: Ariane Bertz, Karlsruhe
Thema: Chancen zur Integration/Inklusion. Wie viel Inklusion brauchen wir? Wie viel Selbständigkeit wird akzeptiert?
Themes: "Opportunities for integration/inclusion. How much inclusion do we need? How much independence is accepted?"

Teilnehmer/participants: Prof. Dr. Hans Wocken, Uni Hamburg; Prof. Dr. Lelgemann, Uni Würzburg; Beate Höss- Zenker, Pfennigparade/Phoenix München; Michael Gerr, Würzburg, Stadt- und Bezirksrat/ City and District council; Karin Renner, Behindertenbeauftragte & Bezirkstagsvizepräsidentin /Representative for the Disabled and of the vice-president of the District council; Bernd Petri, Geschäftsführer BAR (Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Rehabilitation) Director of the National Association for Rehabilitation;

19:15 :Zusammenfassung Inhaltlich und Organisatorisch
Conclusion, summing up, both in regards to contents and organisation.
19:30: Abendprogramm/evening programme: Hofstuben Marienfeste „Come Together“

Samstag/Saturday 13.11.2010:

9:00: Eintreffen/Arrival

09:30: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H.R. Miltner, Uni Jena, „Rehabilitation von Bewegungsstörungen nach Schlaganfall: Verhaltenseffekte und Veränderungen von Funktionen und Strukturen im Gehirn“
„The rehabilitation of motor dysfunction after a stroke: Effects on behaviour and on the function and structure in the brain”

10:30: Prof. Dr. Gunter Kreutz, Uni Oldenburg „Wirkung von Musik und Rhythmus auf Organismus, Nervensystem, Therapie u. menschliche Entwicklung“
„The influence of music and rhythm on the body, nervous system, therapy and human development”.

11.30: Musikalische Darbietung einer „Petö-Kindergruppe“
Musical presentation by a „Petö children’s group“

12:00 - 13:00: Mittagspause / Mittagsimbiss / Lunch

13:00 - 14:00: Beiträge und Austausch mit dem Publikum C/D
Contributions and discussion from the audience

Beitrag C: Petö-Institut, Hochschule Budapest „Umgang mit veränderten Funktionen und Gehirnstrukturen bei CP in der KF. Der Weg von der Dysfunktion zur Orthofunktion“ Dr. Ildiko Pasztorne Tass , Petö-Institut Budapest
Report C: "Petö Institute, College, Budapest “ Dealing with changed motor function and brain structures in cerebral palsy through Konduktive Förderung". The path from dysfunction to orthofunction."

Beitrag D:Birgit vom Busch, Blindeninstitut and Graf-zu-Bentheim-Schule, Würzburg
„Bedeutung von Musik und Rhythmus in der KF“

Report D: Birgit vom Busch, Institute for the Blind and Graf-zu-Bentheim School, Würzburg
"The meaning of music and rhythm in Konduktive Förderung".

14:00 - 14:30: Kaffeepause/ coffee break

14:30 - 15:30 Beiträge und Austausch mit dem Publikum
Contributions and discussion from the audience

Beitrag E: „Die Entwicklung der KF in Deutschland: Gestern – Heute – Morgen – unter Berücksichtigung der UN-Rechtskonvention“ Rita Mechtl, Sonder-Päd./Dipl. Konduktorin, FortSchritt Rosenheim, Phoenix München
Report E: "The development of Konduktive Förderung in Germany: Yesterday, today, tomorrow- In regard to the UN- rights convention”.
Rita Mechtl, Special School teacher and Dipl. conductor

Beitrag F: „Entwicklungsförderung durch Konduktive Faszilitation bei cerebralen Paresen“ Friederike Bock, Nürnberg, Zsuzsa Hadházi, Rosenheim
Report F: "The developmental advancement through konduktive facilitation of cerebral palsies".

16:00: Mariann Stelczerne-Oberst, „Auswertung Zukunftsfeste“
"Evaluation of the fit for the future project“.

16:15: Prof. Dr. Willibald Weichert
Zusammenfassung beider Tage und Vorbereitung zur Podiumsdiskussion

Summary of both days and preparation for the podium discussion

17:00: Podiumsdiskussion
Moderation: Nicole Krieger, Karlsruhe

„Wie muss die Förderung von Menschen mit Behinderungen gestaltet sein, um Teilhabe am Leben zu erreichen? Zukunftschancen, Probleme und Lösungswege“
“How should the training/advancement for people with disability be shaped so that they may participate in life? Chances for the future, problems and paths towards solutions.”

Teilnehmer/participants: Landtagspräsidentin (Landtags President) Barbara Stamm; Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H.R. Miltner; Prof. Dr. Willibald Weichert; Prof. Dr. Franz Schaffhauser, Universität Budapest, Direktor Petö-Institut; Minister Dr. Ludwig Spänle, angef.; Norbert Müller-Fehling GF BVKM (Bundesverband für Körper und Mehrfachbehinderten) angef.; Ministerin Christine Haderthauer angef.; Dr. Doris Pfeiffer, Vorsitzende GKV-Spitzenverband angef.; Robert Antretter, Vorstand Lebenshilfe, angef.;
(abgefr.:attendance not yet confirmed)

18:00: Abschluss des Kongresses und Ausblick
Conclusion of Congress and outlook for the future

Abendveranstaltung in Würzburg – optional
Optional evening entertainment

Sonntag 14.11.2010: Mitgliederversammlungen Bundesverband Konduktive Förderung nach Petö e.V., Bundesverband Konduktoren, ECA – Europäischer Verband

Sunday 14th November
Meetings of the members of:
The National Association for Konduktive Förderung nach Petö e-V.
The German Association for Conductors
The European Conductors Associaton

Download the programme at:
FortSchritt Würzburg e.V.