Mission of the Heart
Chuck and Sue Saur give new meaning to parental involvement in education. With an unwavering commitment to their son, Dan, who has cerebral palsy, the Grand Rapids couple made conductive education a reality for Michigan children with motor impairments by working to establish what is now known as the Conductive Learning Center of North America (CLC). The CLC has served hundreds of children with motor impairments since its inception back in 1997.
Chuck remembers the exact moment Dan first gained the ability to cast his own fishing rod into the lake. Today, Dan can write his own name and he is able to sit up in bed and rub the sleep from his eyes with his once rigid hands. He verbally joins in his bedtime prayer. "It's hard to explain the magnitude of what conductive education has meant to our family," Chuck explained. "We've gone from thinking about what we can do for Dan to celebrating what he can do for himself, and that difference is huge."
Excerpt from original article written by Judy Winter (photo courtesy of Judy Winter).
1998President of Aquinas College, Dr. Harry J. Knopke and Dr. James V. Garofalo, Dean of the School of Education, agree to complete a pilot study of conductive education at Ken-O-Sha School (Grand Rapids Public Schools). After great success, Aquinas moves forward with work to establish the first conductor-teacher training program in North America.
Aquinas hires former director of special education services at Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kathy Barker and former International Pető Institute, directors, Ildikó Kozma, Erzsébet Balogh, MD, and Júlia Horváth, Ph.D., assign Andrea Benyovszky as project director to establish conductor-teacher training and oversee Conductive Learning Center lab school as a training facility for their Physically or Otherwise Health Impaired teacher training program.
President of Aquinas College, Harry J. Knopke, Ph.D. signs an agreement with International Pető Institute to establish a training program for conductor-teachers in Grand Rapids, MI.
To create long-term sustainability, a group of like-minded and passionate individuals come together to support the growth of the Conductive Learning Center. Together, individuals from various public and private sectors bring their knowledge and experience to advance the mission of CLC.
Aquinas College graduates four students from the first cohort to complete the Bachelor of Arts Degree, obtaining their initial teacher certifications in Elementary Education and Physical or Other Health Impairment (POHI), as well as a conductor-teacher certificate from the International Pető Insitute.
CLC collaborates with the newly formed Association of Conductive Education in North America to host the first National Conductive Education Workshops, leading to the development of a biannual conference to acknowledge and promote the practice of conductive education.
The Conductive Leaning Center becomes a wholly independent non-profit and re-establishes itself as a fully licensed non-public school.
In June of 2018, CLC celebrated the 20th summer school, and continues to provide the highest quality conductive education services to children and young adults with motor impairments.
In July of 2019, CLC released an updated brand identity, including a new official name, Conductive Learning Center of North America (CLC). This change reflects our role as a North American leader in the field of conductive education while also capturing our heritage by utilizing the colors reflective of both institutions from which CLC took root – Semmelweis University András Pető Faculty (formerly known as the International Pető Institute) and Aquinas College. It exhibits the permanent cooperation between the three institutes over the past 20 years, a relationship that is still unique in the international field of conductive education and conductor-teacher training.
The official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of our new location at 2401 Camelot Court took place on October 9, 2019.
Conductive Learning Center of North America (CLC) moved with hopes to increase capacity and create more opportunities to serve a larger population of those living with motor challenges. For the first time in our history, we are now able to offer programming in a space that was specifically designed with the needs of our students in mind. We are especially excited that this new environment includes increased access to specially equipped bathrooms as well as a life skill learning lab to support student development related to activities of daily living.