Andras Pëto, the founder of conductive education, was born in Hungary. Pëto's interest in anything and everything that affected the life of mankind was probably determined at a young age. His father was confined to life in a wheelchair because of Parkinson's disease, his outlook on life was probably influenced more by his mother who dictated a very structured life.
After the First World War, Pëto moved to Vienna to study medicine, which at that time was the European centre for intellectuals. He gained his first professional experiences in various hospitals in Austria. Later, he became head of several Austrian clinics and health institutes. However, Pëto never accepted money from his patients and funded himself through various enterprises. For example, he produced a newspaper and lived off the advertising revenue.
In 1938, Pëto returned to Budapest where he took refuge in the basement of a house owned by a friend. Here he spent most of his time working and playing with the daughter of his hostess who had cerebral palsy.
His studies, experience and child-oriented interest with her proved to be very successful. In 1945, after the end of the war in Europe, he started to work with motor disabled children in a new, carefully integrated system, which was the organisation and implementation of conductive education. He concentrated on training staff to work with children with cerebral palsy, which eventually led to the development and organisation of qualifications for 'conductors' to degree level.
He had to prove to the professionals that there is a way to educate a person with motor disabilities, thus enabling them to find the right strategies to rehabilitate themselves, if not alone, then with the help of conductive education. He found different ways of working to create and elaborate a system which ensured his approach would not only survive, but also expand and develop.
Eventually in 1950 - 51, he founded his first centre with 80 places. This was called 'The Institute for the Motor Impaired’. In the early sixties, the State Institute was transferred from the Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Education. Furthermore, the first steps were underway to create formal training and a transition from 'handlers' to 'conductors'.
In 1967, after a long period of ill health, Pëto died. Dr Mari Hari, his colleagues and students continued his work. In 1984 the present ‘Pëto’ Institute was founded in the Buda Hills in Budapest.
What is Conductive Education
Conductive education is a system of learning developed by the Hungarian physician Professor Andras Pëto in Budapest, Hungary.
Conductive education was initially developed for the needs of children with cerebral palsy.
Conductive education in its fullest form is a unified system of rehabilitation for people with neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease multiple sclerosis and those who have suffered strokes or head injuries.
Conductive education is a system in its own right. It is not a composite or amalgamation. It is a system of learning that has been developed with groups of individuals with motor disorders.
Conductive education is a learning process, not a treatment or therapy
Conductive education is a partnership between the educator (the Conductor) and learners to create circumstances for learning.
Conductive education is an all day all life on going learning process.
Conductive education approaches problems of movement as problems of learning.
Conductive education can be directed towards all age groups.
Conductive education for Children should start as early as possible. Many centres have parent and baby groups.
Conductive education involves all that can be expected from a child’s relevant age group.
Conductive education teaches children and adults to achieve what they want and the motivation to find their own way of doing so.
Conductive education enables the child to work in an integrated way with others with similar but often different problems.
Conductive education embraces learning and development of movement, speech and mental ability simultaneously, not separately or consecutively.
Conductive education is based on the theory that the motor disabled child develops and learns in the same way as their peers.
Conductive education is not a miracle cure. It needs a concentrated effort over a period of time to enable the participants to achieve recognised goals directed by task analysis.
Conductive education is a positive concept that looks for ways in which the individual can develop purposeful movement. It does not have a negative approach where complicated aids and equipment are used to facilitate motor control and stability.
Conductive education uses only simple well-designed, good quality furniture and equipment.
Conductive education has now become established in countries all round the world.
Conductive education has FIVE main elements to facilitate the process.
Elements of Conductive Education
Five important elements are required in order to facilitate the process of conductive education:
The task series
Intention / Rhythmical Intention
1: The Conductor
This is the professional who delivers the programme.
Have an intensive four year University based ‘hands on’ professional training
They are responsible for the initial assessment, organisation and delivering the programme
They create situations that encourage learning and problem solving
They observe each persons’ performance and modify the programme and timetable according to their needs
They concentrate on the positive to ensure that the individual meets with success and feels the effort is purposeful and worthwhile
They give clear guidance, support and a sense of direction
2: The Programme
This is often described as complex but can be thought of as a planned learning programme.
Is a planned day by day programme of learning and practising
Each days programme starts with waking and finishes with sleeping
For many this includes getting out of bed, going to the toilet, washing and having breakfast
It includes all the activities included in a daily routine
For school children it embraces academic lessons, playing with peers, eating, toileting etc.
For adults it may include the full routine of living, working, hobbies and interests etc.
3: The Task Series
The task series is the basis of the work session, which prepares children for function.
Tasks are taught, learnt, practised, generalised and used
Tasks are broken up into elements with appropriate goals
Each member of ‘the group’ works towards the successful completion of the task
Tasks are a structured part of the daily programme
Tasks are teaching tools, not a set of exercises
Tasks are developed to meet the needs of the individual
Tasks are most effective when carried out in a group
Tasks are presented in such a way that allows the individual to succeed at the same time learning a new skill or reinforcing a newly acquired one
Success lies with the individual
4: Intention / Rhythmical Intention
Is the method by which a child uses speech or inner speech to express an intention and is followed by movement, which is carried out rhythmically.
The use of language to plan, imagine, intend and implement a movement
The use of speech or inner speech to express an intention
It facilitates motor activity
It regulates the motor act
It focuses attention on the movement
And at a later stage...
It controls speed and rhythm of movement
It controls language of movement
LANGUAGE MOVEMENT AND FUNCTION
Develop together - are taught together - are learnt together -
5: The Group
The basic unit in which the participants may be matched for ability and age.
They learn not only from their conductor but from their peers
They are encouraged to become ambitious to succeed
The group socialises the child to avoid adult orientation
The group encourages each to wait for attention or conversely to ask for help
The group members are aware and observe other children solving similar problems
The group members know the progression when the immediate problem is solved
The children are given the chance to be responsible for themselves
Praising one child encourages another.