Skills Required for Day-to-Day Living
Since the central goal of Conductive Education is to integrate the child into day-to-day living, then the skills the child must acquire are those required for day-to-day living. Skills are not a collection of movements, but rather what is required for play, studies, caring for one’s self, spontaneous expression, etc., all of which are complicated by-products and activities. Analysis of these functional skills and observation of functional and dysfunction individuals are the necessary first steps.
It is possible to identify the underlying abilities which are functional pre-conditions incorporated into each task. A few examples: object perception, problem-solving skills, series of movements, interaction skills, the ability for abstract thinking, spatial perception, visual perception, body image, emotions, memory, attention and manual skills.
In Conductive Education the individual is perceived as a whole or totality, as a framework, within which there is a constantly on-going process of differentiation. This perception differs from the hierarchical model generally accepted in education according to which the whole is built of blocks placed one upon the other. Underlying abilities are part of this and are included in the skills that are considered to be functional goals. Whenever reference is made to the totality, underlying abilities are implied.
In order to develop underlying abilities, we must make use of activities in which they are already embedded rather than attempting to develop them separately. The assumption is that the cortex can contend with what is meaningful and relevant.
Simply practicing specific skills is considered invalid based upon the assumption that perceptual and motor skills worked into a meaningful framework of more complete and complex skills will present better learning opportunities. This is due to a broader part of the cortex being involved in the process. Notwithstanding the above, accomplishing functional tasks is not the only means for realizing objectives. Various learning tasks chosen by the Conductor help the child use his underlying abilities successfully. A task series which relates the various skills, one to the other, leads to the realization of functional objectives.
Life Skills Task Series
Task series in Conductive Education facilitates the performance of activities which are spontaneously learned by typical children. The process of deconstructing the objective into its components helps the individual to successfully perform the various tasks and, in the long run, to reach the goals that were set for him. These components are integrated into the daily program so that the individual is provided with opportunities to experience different ways to reach his goal, progressing from simpler to more difficult and complex, thus eventually reaching his functional goal.
Since learning takes place in a context-specific task and environment, the objectives are planned so that they will take place under various conditions. Task series, therefore, is done in different body positions (lying down, sitting, standing). The components of the series are applied to day-to-day situations. Thus they take on meaning and become refined; the ultimate goal, the child’s independent functioning in a healthy society, is then attained.
There are 4 stages in life skill acquisition:
- Cognitive stage–this stage the task components are learned and built-in to a task series. Emphasis placed on the individual who must think about his movement in relation to the function that has been chosen. At this stage, external verbal regulation is used.
- Stabilization stage–This is the stage which skills are practiced over and over again and are eventually established. Speech, at this stage, becomes internalized.
- Automatic stage– This is the stage at which the individual no longer must think about his physical performance and can attain his functional goal. Speech is totally internalized.
- Generalization– Generalization takes place when the skill attained in the automatic stage can be in all functional situations.
Task series is an analytic program which breaks down tasks into stages along an ascending functional spiral with the end result of ortho-functionality.
End Part 5
Thanks to Rony Schenker, Academic Director of the Tsad Kadima Organization for the resource material for this article.
About Conductive Learning Center of Greater Cincinnati
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, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Stroke-related Disabilities, Acquired-Brain Trauma, and other motor challenges
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The Conductive Learning Center of Greater Cincinnati is a Not-for-Profit Corporation under Section 501 (c)(3) of the IRS code. The School offers conductive education methodology as an educational option to students diagnosed with neurological based motor impairments, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other motor challenges.
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