How is Conductive Education Different Than PT or OT?
Conductive Education (CE) is not Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy or an exercise program. It’s rehabilitation that combines a medical and learning approach with rigorous, repetitive, and rhythmic exercises and tasks.
CE, founded on the premise of neural plasticity posits: despite significant damage, the brain is capable of creating new neural pathways with intensive, focused and motivating practice.
Movement, speech, cognition, and self-initiation skills are developed in tandem with functional movement. People with motor disorders develop and learn in the same way as children and adults who are typically developing.
However, what most people learn through assimilation, the person with cerebral palsy or a stroke must be taught overtly as a skill.
Who can potentially benefit from CE?
Anyone who has suffered a motor disorder can potentially benefit from CE. For example:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Spina Bifida
- Multiple Sclerosis and conditions causing demyelination
- Parkinson’s disease and parkinsonism
A Medical Model + Learning Approach
A medical model focuses on the course of the condition; considers the extent of the damage to the central nervous system (CNS) and possible effective treatments.
CE believes that the impact and effect of the symptoms can be assisted through learning how to regain control over the body and to perform movements which have been affected by the specific nature of the condition.
To achieve this a wide range of principles of teaching and learning are used in order to establish new connections in the brain. The general acceptance of the plasticity of the brain and the link with potential improvement has only occurred within the last decade. This information alone however is not enough. Within the medical model we refer to people with neurological conditions as ‘patients’. This suggests that they are passive, ill and certainly cannot take control of their future.
Leaners instead of Patients
In CE we see people as ‘learners’, people who have to learn skills and techniques which were previously carried out automatically.
This moves the approach to rehabilitation away from the medical model and into an educational model. A model which considers how people learn rather than focusing on what they should learn. (Source: conductive-education.org.uk)
The medical model assumes that the patient wants to learn; little consideration will be given to methods of establishing this ‘want’. Equally lack of motivation, depression and loss in confidence and self-esteem are frequent consequences of neurological conditions.
If we consider that the overarching aim of all rehabilitation is to improve quality of life then we must take into account the individual as a learner and work in parallel with the psychological and physiological impact on day-to-day life.
CE links speech, thought, and movement together. In practice this means that the conductor will announce the task to be performed e.g. I lift my right arm up; the group will then repeat this and then will carry out the movement using a count of one to five. By doing this the conductor is able to help the person focus on the movement they are carrying out and also provide an optimal time scale in which to complete it, thus teaching the person how to overcome the symptoms and carry out the movement more successfully.
The use of speech helps the person to internalize the movement and use this outside of the CE session. E.g. when at home the person will frequently say the movement to themselves and carry it out using the count they have learned.
It is very important that caregivers and family members are also taught how to use these strategies to help the application of skills into all aspects of daily life.
Conductive Education Objectives
- To teach functional skills with an attitude of self–help, and motivation, while enjoying the process along the way.
- To actively involve the person with a physical disability in his/her motor learning. CE encourages each person to take responsibility for his/her movement. This allows improved active participation in home, school, employment, and other social environments
- To prevent secondary complications including pain and the negative impact of limited activity.
- To maintain positive communications with parents/caregivers to better benefit overall development and incorporate learned skills into everyday life situations.
- To improve postural control and transitional movements to enhance functional independence.
- To elicit as much active, quality movement as possible while promoting skeletal development and overall health.
Summary: Mind to the Muscle
Conductive Education was founded on the premise of neural plasticity: despite significant damage, the brain is capable of creating new neural pathways with intensive, focused and motivating practice. CE integrates a medical and learning approach to rehabilitation utilizing rhythmic repetitions of tasks and movements to help the brain learn new neural pathways to connect the mind to the muscle. Movement, speech, cognition, and self-initiation skills are developed in tandem with functional mobility.
Location: 325 W 19th St. Covington KY 41014
School Hours: 9am – 2:30pm