To help parents and children better understand what Conductive Education and learning is (and is not) we are doing a series of educational interviews and articles. This is Part 2 of a multi-part series and focuses on the role of the Conductor.
Leading Better, More Independent Lives
Ortho-function is the ability, involving the entire personality, that enables the individual to fulfill the biological and social demands expected of him. Being able to function in society. Leading better and more independent lives. An ortho-functional person is characterized as having a general adaptive or learning ability which enables the individual, throughout his or her life, to completely and continuously adapt to the natural and social environment. An individual’s development is dependent on this general ability.
Ortho-function is related to the accumulation of positive experiences in performing tasks related to age-appropriate system of biological and social demands. Dysfunction is not inherent in the child but is a product of his interaction with the environment or the way in which he is perceived by others. Ortho-function is the free will to find new solutions to new, previously unknown problems and to learn to be independent. It is a self-reinforcing, spiral-like mechanism of motivation, learning, and accomplishment.
Biological and social demands increase as the child grows older. A succession of failures is certain to affect his growing range of activities. As age advances, the likelihood of a spontaneous resumption of adaptive behavior decreases and dysfunction develops. Learning is a process that relates to every component of personality.
Conductive Education’s mission is to achieve adaptation, learning, and rehabilitation of the whole personality that has been dysfunctional. Ortho-function is an approach to life and disability that recognizes the importance of the connection between effort, motivation, lifetime learning, achievement, problem-solving, and dynamic potential.
Adaptation, Learning, and Rehabilitation
Ortho-function is the desired outcome of conductive intervention on the psycho-social level. This view of ortho-function and dysfunction shows that the entire personality must be dealt with through an integrative system of demands, which is precisely what Conductive Education offers. The main components are the Conductor, the group, the active daily routine, rhythmical intention, task analysis, and task series, all of which are directed to the goal of learning. Essentially, they deal with the child’s primary disability: lack of motivation.
The Role of the Conductor
How can one cause the child with a disability to take upon himself the determination necessary to be an active participant in his environment and the tenacity to continue searching out ways to help himself? The answer is in the role of the Conductor.
The Conductor is the pedagogue (teacher) whose goal is to prevent the helplessness that is likely to result from inappropriate direct assistance, from doing things for the disabled person instead of teaching him to do things for himself. Increasing dependency rather that independence is what gives rise to a feeling of helplessness: the antithesis of bringing the child to discover for himself that there is a way for him if someone just helps him find it.
Achieving Rehabilitation Goals through Learning
If one must describe the essence of Conductive Education in one sentence one could say that rehabilitative goals are achieved by teaching, through the help of a professional who received specific training: the Conductor. The Conductor’s personality and training are the keys to Conductive Education. On a pedagogic level, the Conductor integrates the various professional aspects necessary for rehabilitation.
The Conductor is a “generalist” who draws upon what medicine, education, and psychology have to offer him. He or she does not replace experts in their various fields but works along with them. The Conductor, as noted, has a comprehensive education that culls from other disciplines what is needed for him to teach and to fully activate the brain-damaged child.
Aside from the teaching profession in which the Conductor has been fully trained, the Conductor’s training includes theoretical knowledge in many areas relevant to the problems of disabled children. However, beyond theoretical knowledge, the Conductor’s training focuses upon the practical. He is taught how to convert every regular experience in the child’s life into a teaching opportunity to inculcate new skills and abilities.
The Conductor’s Comprehensive Approach
The Conductor must adopt a comprehensive approach, taking into consideration every aspect of the child’s personality. His objective is to build a rehabilitation program as an organic unit on the academic, linguistic, senso-motor, and social levels. Though individualized, the objective is met by means of the activity of the group.
The Conductor is responsible for creating a uniform developmental experience where every aspect of development is considered from a consistent educational point of few, beginning with the where and now and continuing throughout the developmental process. Speech, rhythm, and the refusal to reduce human movement below the level at which it has meaning are all part of the Conductor’s pedagogy. The use of the group as an active pedagogic tool, the classroom and the organization of the staff, with the purpose of the creation of a coherent day that will come part of a coherent week, and subsequently part of a coherent year are also significant aspects of the Conductor’s pedagogy.
In view of the need for daily integrative activation of the child and recognizing the psychological effects of socialization as imperative for development, an important principle of Conductive Education is to avoid, as much as possible, isolating the child from his group of equals by working with him in an individual therapy room. Also, most of the activities are multi-dimensional: a single activity integrates the learning of motor, cognitive, verbal social, etc, skills. Gaining the knowledge and skill to create integrative group activity is an essential component of the Conductor’s training.
Maintaining Interest and Attention
By utilizing his special skills and knowledge, the Conductor can create conditions favorable to teaching coordination that emanates from intention. By employing different types of motivation, the Conductor maintains interest and attention. It is the Conductor who sets standards for the group, encourages communication within the group, creates a pleasant atmosphere, instills a sense of security, and relates to the individual needs of all the members of the group. He is the one charged with the responsibility of ensuring the group’s successful activity.
Summary: The Conductor’s Role
Summarily, the primary role of the Conductor is that of a catalyst who helps each individual build anew his own way to activity, his own manner of goal realization and implementation, and who encourages spontaneous activity by gently assisting in the process of discovery.
End Part 2
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.
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.
Copyright © 2019 The Conductive Learning Center of Greater Cincinnati. All Rights Reserved.
Address: 325 W 19th St, Covington, KY 41014
School Hours: 9am - 2:30pm