braindamage - habilitation

beskidy at beskidy at
Fri Nov 22 01:31:07 EST 1996

In article <56v7p7$5sm at>,
    Hege Stensrud <hege.stensrud at> wrote:
> Is there anyone out there with firsthand experience of either Petö therapy/ Conductive Education or Doman/Delcato method of habilitation?
> Neither of these two methods are recognized where we live. We have read what the Institutes say about themselves and also what most professionals say about Doman/Delcato. We are aware that the Doman/Delcato treatment is not given much credit. Nontheless these articles and televisionprograms about children that made considerable progress with either one of these methods keeps appearing, and as parents to a braindamaged child it makes quite an impression to see how ordinary working people spend so much time and money and effort on something that the specialists condemn. 
> Anyone out there with firsthand experience of either one of these metods?
> Anyone out there that knows of alternative methods of habilitation for young braindamaged children?
> Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
> Clas Ola
This should help
New Movement
Family raves about program that helps disabled
children 'learn' movement
By Lisa Dempster
Calgary Herald
Wednesday, April 3, 1996

A new program designed to help children with cerebral palsy
is drawing rave reviews from a Calgary family which says it 
has given hope to their two disabled sons.
But the teaching method, called Conductive Education, is also 
proving as controversial as it is exciting - deeply dividing 
parents, who believe in its intensive approach, and
groups like the Calgary Cerebral Palsy Association, who feel 
its best ideas can be culled and offered in a less strenuous setting.
For us, it's a completely different world right now," says Jerry Maslanka, 
a Calgary draftsman and father of two-year-old twin boys with 
cerebral palsy.
Frustrated with what they felt was a snail's pace in their sons' 
physical therapy, Jerry and Krystyna Maslanka heard about a different 
kind of instruction being offered in Spokane, Wa.
They ended up enrolling their kids in the U.S. program for two months, 
and have now returned to Calgary to spread the word of their successes.
Conductive Education is actually a 40-year-old Hungarian method 
which uses a "conductor"
or highly-trained specialist teacher, who works with several children 
with movement disorders like cerebral palsy to teach them to develop 
greater bodily control-which can lead to higher self-esteem and taking 
part in activities they never before thought possible."It will work 
with any movement disorder," says Susan Sweeney, president of the
Spokane-based Association for Conductive Education .Conditioning Technique
Sweeney, a special education teacher, has a 12 year-old daughter with 
cerebral palsy. She learned about the program in Hungary, travelled 
there twice, and is now a leading proponent of the teaching method in the U.S.
Sweeney says unlike physical therapy, whichcan help rehabilitate limbs, 
Conductive Education actually teaches and conditions a child's brain how 
to move the body through specific tasks and games.
Proponents believe it is best offered in its traditional immersion-like 
setting, in which a conductor
works with a group of children several several hours every day, and 
incorporates academics to mirror a "regular" school. The Hungarian-trained 
conductors have four-year diplomas which are the equivalent of a U.S.
bachelor and master degrees in physical therapy.
"She goes over the movements, and then says 'left leg" in her head, and her 
left leg will move,"
marvels Sweeney. "Before that, I would say, ' Well move your left leg, 
hone.' And her arm might move. She might blink her eyes.  This is a 
learning routine in her head."
Rapid Improvement
Little Jeremy and Dominik Maslanka have had to struggle to accomplish 
the basic movements crucial to independent life.  Both boys had difficulty 
walking, or performing tasks like lifting objects or walking
with toys, but since taking the program have made rapid improvement.
"My sons have changed in every aspect, not only physically but mentally. It's
amazing," says Jerry.
But the enthusiasm felt by Sweeney and the Maslankas has been tempered by the
reaction from the Cerebral Palsy Association of Calgary, which is also 
exploring the teaching method.
"We are absolutely enthused about Conductive Education," insists association
president Joanne Young.
"I've seen what can happen, and it's very encouraging. I can't understand 
why we haven't seen more of it
The association, which has about 160 active members, is now running a $25,000 pilot
program with several city families-but to the chagrin of traditional Conductive Education proponents,
it's only one day-week instruction by therapist with occasional assistance from a "consulting"
conductor. Parents are also encouraged to coach their kids at home.
"We've got two very diffrent philosophies," admits Young. "And they are violently
opposed to the program that's happening here, and I find that hard to accept.
 "I'm not saying this is the only route to take. We're just excited that something is
True Approach
Sweeney, who was in Calgary recently to check the progress of the Maslanka twins and
to meet with other parents interested in Conductive Education, said she hopes to help introduce the "true"
teaching approach in Canada.
Ontario offers summer camps in Conductive Education, and the program has been
introduced to children in England and Israel, as well as other several countries.
The Maslankas, who are presently forming a local Conductive Education society,
dream of a day when it will be available to all children with motor disabilities in a daily, full-time program.
"We definitely see the light in the tunnel where before it was so terribly dark," says

Information on both approaches can be obtained by calling the Maslankas at 281-5786
More information from the Association for Conductive Education can also be viewed on
home page on World Wide Web at

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