Jackson Center for Conductive Education opened in July 2005. It is the only Conductive Education program in Indiana, and was founded by the family of Jackson DePoy, who has cerebral palsy.
Until age three, Jackson had approximately 8 hours of therapy per week through the Indiana Early Intervention program. At age three, he was enrolled in a developmental preschool through the local school system. Although he made progress through these programs, he was not self-sufficient.
Jackson’s family learned of Conductive Education in the spring of 2004 from a program aired by CBS on 60 Minutes. After watching this program and researching Conductive Education, Jackson’s parents knew that it was something that they had to try for Jackson. Because the number of Conductive Education centers in the U.S. is limited, and there were none in Indiana, the family found a program in Chicago, IL, called, "The Center for Independence through Conductive Education."
In order to "test" Jackson’s ability to succeed in the program, The Center for Independence agreed to accept Jackson for an intensive four-week program. The program also taught Jackson’s mother, Lara, an occupational therapist, the basics of the program.
Recognizing that Jackson greatly benefited from Conductive Education, and that other Hoosier families could benefit as well, Jackson’s family and friends began fundraising and were successful in opening Jackson Center less than one year after Jackson’s trip to Chicago.
Jackson Center is a 501(c)(3) Not-for-Profit Organization. In its first year of operation, Jackson Center offered forty-weeks of classes. Eighteen children attended multiple sessions. Jackson Center is funded through a combination of fees for services, charitable contributions, and fundraising.
Conductors are movement specialists who hold a four-year, university-based degree. Most Conductors have been trained at the Petö Institute in Hungary, however there are other recognized training programs, including one in the United States. Through the Conductive Education program, the Conductor teaches skills that promote independence in self care and mobility while helping participants gain self-esteem and achieve academic skills.
Rather than “solving” the motor problems themselves, Conductors guide and encourage each child’s own active problem-solving for movement tasks. As the thinking becomes habitual and new tasks are learned, the brain rewires new connections.
Jackson Center has also integrated an Occupational and Physical Therapist into their staff. The Occupational Therapist has earned a Certificate in the Principles of Conductive Education through Governor’s State University.
Classroom aides work under the direct supervision of the Conductor and the therapists, and are available in approximately a one-to-one ratio to assist participants as needed. The goal of CE is to teach and explore challenges of movement, allowing any child to participate as individually as possible.
In addition to CE, Jackson Center also has a small academic program lead by a State-Certified teacher. The education program is designed to serve children whose learning needs are enhanced by either a one-on-one or small group environment. Jackson Center offers a year-round academic program to help students achieve age-appropriate education standards identified through Individualized Education Plans based upon State of Indiana standards.
"My son, Christian, has attended classes at Jackson Center since he was two years and four months old. At present, Christian is ready to move into kindergarten, where he is expected to perform at age level! This independence for our son is invaluable and changes our family dynamic as well as his life. As a parent who has been in this network for four years, I cannot image not having the center, its staff, and fellow families in our lives."
--The Christian Fitzgerald Family