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.
How We Help
Conductive education is a powerful educational re/habilitation method that enhances the plasticity of the brain by engaging participants of any age with motor challenges, caused by damage to the central nervous system. Conductive Education was developed in 1945 in Hungary by Dr. András Pető. Pető theorized that people with disabilities are characterized by disintegrated function. His theory was that this may be overcome, and that coordinated functioning can be developed through an indirect cognitive route involving teaching and learning. The CE program is effective as it provides a daily task series emphasizing learning correct physical motions, which are continuously applied in real-life situations throughout the day, as part of a stimulating intellectual environment. This enables the brain to create new connections and develop an alternative way of accomplishing motor control where none was previously thought possible. All the CE program components serve to motivate the child, working within a group of peers, in an age appropriate way, cuing and/or conducting the child by guiding and teaching them to move.