Conductive Education is a system of learning that improves motor skills for those with motor disorders resulting from damage or disease to the central nervous system. It is not a cure; nor is it a major medical breakthrough. It is not even a therapy, but a series of repetitive tasks and education that address basic functional movements, in a small group setting. Conductive Education operates on the premise, "That although the human body may have limitations, the human mind does not."
The goal of Conductive Education is to give the child with motor disabilities greater independence in the activities of daily life. Conductive Education looks for ways in which each child can develop purposeful movement.
Accordingly, Conductive Education addresses skills in dressing, eating, and personal hygiene, as well as play and learning. Conductive Education strives to equip children with the opportunity to actively experience childhood as other children do.
Conductive Education was developed in 1948 by Dr. Andras Petö at the Petö Institute in Budapest, Hungary. It is founded on the belief that motor disabled children can learn and develop physical movement through repetitive skill exercises. While “typically developing children” learn physical movement through assimilation within their peer groups, the motor disabled child must be taught to develop these same movements as a skill set. Petö’s intricately devised learning program utilizes specially trained Conductors who guide and motivate the child through active moving patterns, that are eventually integrated into the daily activities of life. Today, Conductive Education is widely established in Australia, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Jackson Center is the only Conductive Education program in Indiana.
Conductive Education approaches problems of movement as problems of learning. The learning and development of movement, speech, and mental ability are approached simultaneously over a period of time to achieve recognized goals. Conductive Education’s intensive group approach is aimed at creating new neurological pathways to overcome significant damage.
Using music, devices, and apparatus that aid movement, repetition, and the student’s desire to achieve simple tasks, children develop and maximize functional independence through goal-directed activity, verbal regulation, and group dynamics. A child uses speech or inner speech to express an intention, and then carries it out through rhythmic movement. This use of language facilitates and regulates motor activity and focuses attention on the movement.
Conductive Education allows a child with motor disabilities to practice and learn new cognitive organizational skills in a motivating, compassionate environment. The child is encouraged to use new, active problem solving to direct their movements. Over time the child’s brain creates new connections between thought and physical action.
The emotional security and positive atmosphere of Conductive Education classes at Jackson Center allow the child to express individual creativity and build their self esteem. As they observe other children solving similar problems, they are encouraged to become ambitious, seek help when it is needed, and explore individual strategies for problem-solving related to daily living.
Conductive Education is generally beneficial to those with motor disorders where damage originates in the central nervous system. Typically such disorders include: cerebral palsy, spina bifida, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. Others who may benefit from Conductive Education include those who have experienced brain injury or stroke.
Candidates for Conductive Education should have the cognitive ability to understand and follow simple visual and verbal directions. Conductive Education may be beneficial throughout the life span from approximately six months of age.
Traumatic Brain Injury
"I have seen tremendous gains in the development of the children who I see regularly at the Cerebral Palsy Clinic who attend Conductive Education classes. This is a valuable asset for the Central Indiana community, and I hope more children benefit from Conductive Education in the future.”
- Carolyn Lytle, MD< MPH, Medical Director, Cerebral Palsy Program, IU Riley Hospital for Children