Our Story

The Conductive Learning Center of Greater Cincinnati

A successful local entrepreneur, Donna Speigel, had a problem. Her Grandson, Dayton, had Cerebral Palsy and was not making sufficient improvement in her opinion, in his physical abilities.

“The diagnosis was devastating, just to hear cerebral palsy, and not being in the special needs world, I wasn’t even sure what it was,” said Spiegel. “And then you hear your grandson isn’t going to walk. He’s not going to talk.”

Initially, Ms. Speigel and her husband, Dennis, took Dayton to physical and occupational therapy. Insurance covered one visit a week. But it didn’t seem to be working.

“I’d leave an appointment in tears thinking, ‘I’m not helping this child. I’m not getting anywhere,'” she remembered.

But, Ms. Speigel was a thriving entrepreneur, being the Founder of the Snooty Fox retail chain. She approached this problem with an entrepreneurial mindset, researched and studied intensely and eventually came upon a school teaching Conductive Education, which was a concept developed in Europe in the 1940s. The problem was that the school was located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A very long drive from Cincinnati.

Ms. Speigel decided to drive her grandson Dayton to Michigan and stayed there for several weeks. The center uses methods developed by Dr. Andras Peto in Hungary to instill independence in children facing motor challenges resulting from neurological damage. Dr. Peto believed that children with cerebral palsy deserve to be all that they can be, and that motor challenges can be worked on just like the ABCs — in a group setting as students, not patients.

Dayton’s Conductive Education regimen included hours of intense physical activity designed to connect the mind to the muscle through rigorous and rhythmic repetitions. She loved it. 

“At 22 months old, I had a little guy who did not move when I first took him to Michigan. Then he rolled over. Then he sat up. We saw such great progress,” remembers Ms. Speigel.

Dayton had made progress. That’s what she wanted, progress. However… Ms. Speigel couldn’t drive to Michigan every day. So, she decided to take a leap of faith. With help from businesses and personal connections, she opened the non-profit Conductive Learning Center of Greater Cincinnati in September 2006. A building in Covington was located which the owner, St. Elizabeth Medical Center, donated for several years of use. She then worked to get more than $80,000 worth of remodeling donations. The father of one student built the specialized furniture. A young man offered his carpentry skills to earn an Eagle Scout badge. Now the center’s sunny rooms, painted in crayon-bright colors, “feel like a second home,” says parent Monica Lee.

And, Ms. Speigel, being the founder of the successful retail chain of Snooty Fox stores, had a creative brainstorm and decided to offer discounts to her customers to help start and fund operations at the new school. Now, typically 80% of the funds for the school come from her loyal Snooty Fox customers. Customers who purchase a $10 “platinum card” receive a 10% discount on their merchandise. That $10 donation goes directly to the school.

Over 15,000 platinum cards have already been sold. Additionally, customers may donate merchandise which is slightly “too used” for consignment to the “Angel Fox” area of the store. All proceeds from the “Angel Fox” sales go directly to the school.”

And for many people with special needs in the Midwest, “The Conductive Learning Center of Greater Cincinnati” has made all the difference in the world.

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Telephone: 513-441-7221

Email: info@clcgc.org

School Hours:  9am – 2:30pm