My visitors today

Sunday 29 January 2012

Private conversations made public

 Me in my earache hat, my cousin in his fishing hat and Big Sis wearing just a smile,
after a day catching shrimps, eels and whiting,
Walcott, 1963

I have not been blogging very much recently, the time and energy have been missing.

I had a tooth pulled out on Friday and the painkillers made me so sleepy that I have been wrapped up in a cosy flat all weekend. With the pain gone and a state of wakefulness returning I have been looking at my notes.

Sometimes I just write down snippets of conversation that I have with myself and if I do not post them fast enough they get buried.

This snippet has been buried for weeks. I no longer know what it was that I was reading online to cause me to write this in my note-book, no doubt it was one of many Google Alerts that land in my inbox. 

The conversation went like this:

I just read something online, it said something like this:

“Conductive Education helps children with cerebral palsy as it teaches them how to use their bodies.”

You know what I would say: Conductive Education does not teach children how to use their bodies, sometimes these children will never learn to use their bodies. Conductive pedagogy can be applied to teach children and adults how to prevent themselves from becoming disabled through a motor disorder and lack of knowledge about their bodies, and can teach them how to use the abilities that they have to experience the world.

A conductive education assists them to experience the world and therefore develop socially and psychologically despite the difficulties in moving their bodies. I would say that learning to use their bodies is a side effect of teaching them how to experience the world and develop their whole personality.

Or as AP might have said, they are 'healed'... and as Mária Hári would have said they are integrated ( body  and soul, not  inclusion).

And if the conductive upbringing begins early enough it could be that there is actually nothing to heal!

Disability in the sense that I am talking about here can be prevented. A soul can be healthy so life can be lived.

1 comment:

andrew said...


Yes, as you quote this it sounds so dualistic. The phrase 'use their bodies' does suggest a way of thinking implying something like that, on the one hand, there are people (minds/souls) and, on the other, their bodies.

But if one is 'holistic' (as they say) then people and their bodies are one, irreduceably so.

As you say, Mária Hári used to talk about 'integration' (nothing to do with inclusion!). To her this word meant the successful blending of all aspects of the human being into a harmonious, integrated whole. I think that you are saying much the same thing from a different direction.

Mária Hári also used the word 'co-ordination' to mean much the same (not the same as motor-coordination at all).

Conductive Education acts to integrate of the developing personality (ensuring that it is coordinated) bu means of appropriately structured pedagogy and upbringing.

I agree with you that in the old terminology of conductive movement therapy this is probably what András Pető meant by Heilung.

This is all fundamental to what is meant by 'orthofunctional' Disharmonious, unintegrated, uncoordinated development is 'dysfunction'. In the jargon of developmental psychology, dysfunction is 'dysontogenesis'. L. S. Vygotskii expressed this nicely by the analogy of a 'dislocation of development', requiring resetting by means of special pedagogy. More nicely still he called it a 'derailment of development – presumably needing the engine of development to beput back on track! (I shudder to recall the jargon that I myself have resorted to in order to articulate this simple notion!).

The phrase 'use their bodies' is a step along the way. I know, I have too laboriously trodden that way myself. It is not of course only in the little worlds of Conductive Education or even 'physical disability' that these considerations apply, and people may find the basically simple notion so hard to grasp and articulate. Oh, that the personal formulations that you and others in our sector arrive at might spread out and down sufficiently to touch all who turn their minds to human developmental disorders.