My visitors today

Monday 16 January 2012

Just a question

Cromer Pier, 30th December 2011

Did any diplom-conductors who are reading this receive formal instruction, as part of their training, in passive, stretching techniques that can be practised with clients with disability?

I did not myself experience, at any time in my conductor training at the Petö Institute, anything more than some informal, practical and observational involvement when certain clients took sage-baths before the beginning of each daily session in a conductive group.

Joints were passively and actively manipulated in the sage-water, but the actual stretching was always done through the movements and activities in the group and individual programmes throughout the day.

I wonder whether perhaps other full-time conductor-training courses have included stretching in the formal training and whether as a foreign student at the PAI this was something that I missed.

Why do I ask?

I ask because I recently came across information on a one-day course for parents that I think is misleading as it tells me:

“Through the gentle stretching techniques from physiotherapy, from Conductive Education and from 
Dr Pfaffenrot we wish to keep the functional movement in all joints and to build on them”

I am well aware that Dr Pfaffenrot uses a technique that many of my clients have benefitted from. I have been treated by him personally myself.

I know also that physiotherapists do a good job manipulating joints to encourage movement. I have also benefited from the work of an excellent physiotherapist when my badly broken wrist was on the mend.


I did not learn gentle stretching techniques as part of my conductor training.

I did learn how to build up an active daily programme for my clients so that they could use their limbs, make directional movements and build on the movements of their body in order to live an active lifestyle and be as independent as possible. The clients of course received whatever assistance necessary from conductors to learn to achieve success in all that they did.

I understand this as being other than “gentle stretching techniques from Conductive Education” that I saw being offered in this workshop for parents.

I know that many conductive centres incorporate a stretching time at the beginning of the programme and I expect that the clients enjoy this and that many also benefit from it. I always understood that this was introduced from another field, such as physiotherapy or manual therapy, and that conductors had taken supplementary courses to learn the techniques. I had never before heard, however, or read, claims of its coming from Conductive Education.

What do others think?

Sometimes I wonder whether I should just let such things pass by unmentioned. 


I have returned to work today, so I had the opportunity to ask the opinion of my PAI colleagues who trained in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. All said No, they had not had any formal training in stretching techniques and they too consider the group and the individual programmes the places for active stretching. Two of us have observed in different centres a pre-lying programme, passive stretching that was taught to the parents or carers by a manual therapist.

I am still interested in reading more comments, especially about how conductors integrate techniques that they have learnt on other training courses into their conductive groups.

As an art therapist I do this regularly, and I know that there are many other conductors who are trained in many different fields. It would be really good to know how this integration of techniques takes place without misleading our clients in their understanding of conductive pedagogy.

1 comment:

Anne said...

Interesting question? Of course I am not trained at the Peto and we at NICE did not get trained into passive stretching either.
However, we got trained too during the formal or semi-formal programs how to correct movements to work on increasing range of movements.

When I volunteered in some German Centre before I completed my training, I always had the impression that the conductors from the Peto must have had more specific training in stretching as there was - like you mentioned- always some passive stretching time with or without Sage/Sage creams.

When I started my first long term job as a conductor, some programs I took over had some stretching time in the beginning. This was for two reason: With only one conductor, nearly one to one assistance and eight kids in the room, we as the conductors could not always be there to make sure full range of movement was facilitated. Later I tried to face out those times and train the assistance more how to properly facilitate, however that sometimes lead to over-facilitation which then again took time to fix.
The other reason was that in two classes the SEA's also attend with the kids and we taught them which stretches to do at school as the physiotherapy stretches they got shown were not always sufficient and in most cases carried out properly.

Like I said we faced it out after a while but this had to do with having already a few assistants in the room, who knew what they were doing and less were to be observed constantly and taught.

I know a lot of conductors who send the parents how with a list of stretches to do. Not really a guidance for daily living, just stretches. I, myself have done it or am doing it, in certain cases if I feel the lack of passive range of motion will hold them back from actively learn and improve.

Funny thing is that if I give parents/families 1 passive stretch to do and 3 suggestions how to develop activity, attention, problem-solving etc.; they will do (90%) do the stretching religiously and leave out the rest. And to fix that, it takes time.