It took us three hours to fall in love with conductive education. The day we came to look at the program was the day we became believers of conductive education. Up until then, Ty received weekly traditional physical, occupational, and speech therapies, but we never could believe that those were going to actually teach him to sit, stand or walk. Therapists could only spend an hour a week for a child. Also, they were obligated to spend a good part of that hour assessing the child, and building therapy plans with parents, and completing reports. They would periodically ask me what I wanted to see Ty achieve in next three months, or what I wanted them to focus on. I never knew how to answer that question. Everything is important to parents. How can a parent choose feeding over potty-training, or sitting over standing? When I voiced my frustration that the therapies seemed just insufficient, one actually replied that it is heartbreaking for her, too, but the future of the children with cerebral palsy seems to be predestined, and that there is a limitation to “what therapists can do.”
Conductive Education is held every day from 9am to 2pm. That is FIVE HOURS A DAY of holistic preschool education that integrates physical, occupational and speech therapy. Everyday follows a basic structure. In a classroom setting, the children with various degree of cerebral palsy or other motor difficulties, practice to sit as they listen to their teachers talk about the monthly topic, be it alphabet, seasons, time of day, etc. They practice to walk as they stand up to walk to different activity stations. They practice to self-feed as they eat with their friends at the lunch table. They sit down on a potty at every recess. The conductors do not compromise nor adjust their expectations to the child’s level of disability. Every child is working towards the same goal in an individualized way. The conductive education made sense! All the staffs wore this wonderful optimism that the child is one day going to succeed. And we could believe them, because we have never seen kids trying so hard before. Andrea Benyovszky, the director, said, “there is a limit to how much an adult professional can motivate the kids.” When Ty is at the “school,” he is working the hardest and longest he has ever tried in his life, because he is naturally motivated by seeing other kids just like him try.
Ty is learning his basic skills in the best place possible. Every kid inspires others, and are inspired from others to make that one step, that one grab, that one pull, and the most dedicated teachers are there to help pull all the energies together. CLC is such a beautiful, necessary place, and we appreciate its existence from the bottom of our hearts.
Madoka Ozaki, Mother