Thanks to Brent Page, President of Conductive Education North America (ACENA,) The National Manager for Community Services Western Canada, and Conductive Education March of Dimes Canada. We are doing a series of articles in cooperation with Brent to bring greater focus on Conductive Education success stories, capabilities, and the future.

INTERVIEW WITH BRENT PAGE:

What is ACENA?

ACENA is the Association for Conductive Education in North America.

ACENA was founded as an individual member association in 2005. It has approximately 60 individual members. In 2013 it introduced the concept of an organizational membership category. This category has 10 members and includes North America Conductive Education centers and international conductive education associations.

What is your vision for the organization?

My vision for ACENA echoes its mission to be the representative of the programs and professionals providing conductive education services within the North American continent. As its current President, I believe there are several areas we must focus on to move CE forward. These include:

  • A bolder development of conductor training modalities that work in the North America setting;
  • A bolder engagement and cooperation with the global CE community and its associations (Andras Peto Faculty at Semmelweis University, International Peto Association, Professional Conductors Association UK, New Zealand Foundation for Conductive Education, European Conductive Association) to knit the voices of CE together for research, for advocacy, for program development;
  • Collaboration on made-in-North America CE research initiatives that use our ACENA community CE centers as labs;
  • Implementation of the common parent satisfaction survey, developed by ACENA members, across all ACENA CE centers, and perhaps its adoption within the larger CE global community;
  • Delivering the 2019 ACENA Conference (booked for the September 13-15 weekend) in Chicago; and,
  • Championing ACENA involvement and participation in the 10th World Congress on Conductive Education to be held in May 2020 in Budapest.

How long have you been involved with Conductive Education? What drew you to it?

My involvement with Conductive Education was, frankly, coincidental. Upon accepting a new position with March of Dimes Canada in 2006, one of my new responsibilities included management of its CE program.

What do you think of the current status of research into Conductive Education effectiveness?

Simply put, in a word, lacking, despite the best efforts of the global CE community.

The E-Conduction Virtual Library of CE (here) documents over 600 studies, articles, and abstracts related to the delivery of CE, which is terrific but tiny for an intervention going on eighty years old. Articling of papers here though did stop in 2016.

Unfortunately, most of the CE literature does not meet the rigor of research’s ‘gold standard’ – the RCT: the randomized controlled trial. There are umpteen reasons for the dearth of research in CE that go back to its founding and subsequent ‘discovery’ by the West. Added to this is a question of whether the discipline sits within the education or healthcare sectors. And, with few conductor training institutions globally, where does one birth a cohort of Ph.D. graduate students to undertake such research? More to the point, how – in fact – does one measure ‘intention’, the raison d’être at the heart of CE?

What are some success stories you have seen that heightened your awareness of the true effectiveness of conductive education?

Evidence-based studies often do not capture the qualitative outcomes experienced by CE participants. Rather first-hand testimonials from participants and/or their parents who have taken Conductive Education at one of North America’s many professional CE Centers provides the best ‘voice of CE’ and its effectiveness. These can be found on the webpages of CE centers across North America.

Two that resonate with me can be found on the March of Dimes Canada website. I know both these young adults well having witnessed their journey to independence through CE.

Andrea Luciani’s CE experience (here)

Alexander Chiasson’s CE experience (here)

What are the resources you recommend for people who are interested in learning more about Conductive Education?

Conductive Education center’s webpages, and Conductive Education association’s webpages, and any Conductive Education Conductor training institute’s webpages can all provide foundational information on the practice of CE. These include but are not limited to:

How can more people get involved in supporting Conductive Education?

We cannot do this work alone. Those working in CE, teaching CE, taking CE need to stand up and be heard. We need to challenge researchers we have contact with to consider championing studies in CE.

We need to encourage CE participants, parents and caregivers to speak to their allied healthcare practitioners and politicians about inclusion and choice and how CE has allowed them to live more independent lives, obtain employment, lessen their involvement with healthcare systems, and contribute and give back to their communities, which ultimately benefits all society.

We need to commit to CE, and in doing so, must remember that commitment is not a word, it is an action.

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Brent Page can be reached at Telephone: 604-688-3603 ext. 6202 | Fax: 604-688-3660 | e-mail:bpage@marchofdimes.ca

The Conductive Learning Center of Greater Cincinnati teaches Conductive Education to children and adults to help them lead better, more independent lives. Conductive education is an intensive, multi-disciplinary approach to education, training, and development for individuals with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other motor challenges.