Every year in the UK one in every 400 babies is born with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects movement, posture and co-ordination. Sometimes these conditions can be seen around the time of birth or they may not become obvious until later.  Sometimes there is no obvious reason why a child has cerebral palsy but research suggests that it is mainly due to factors affecting the brain before or during birth, but causes may be multiple and complex.

Down syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome and it affects about one in every 1,000 babies born each year in the UK. All children with Down syndrome have some degree of learning difficulty ranging from mild to severe. Children with Down syndrome have a specific learning profile with characteristic strengths and weaknesses.

There may be other conditions which affect the acquisition of motor skills.

What is Conductive Education?

Conductive education was pioneered in Hungary in the late 1940’s by Dr Andras Petö in the Institute and College which now bears his name. He developed the teaching system to enable more children to be included in mainstream schools.

It is:

  • A complex approach to educating children with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, spina bifida or any condition affecting the acquisition of motor skills.
  • A holistic approach concerned with the children’s physical, social, emotional, cognitive and spiritual development.
  • It is a programme focussed on the children, not their disabilities.

It is not:

  • A cure
  • A therapy
  • A treatment
  • A form of exercise

Play is of fundamental importance within conductive education. It is through structured play that children learn a wide range of skills and are motivated to do things for themselves.

Some research has shown that conductive education helps around 80% of children with motor dysfunctions. Aspects have been used by some British therapists for over 20 years.

Conductive education has also proved suitable for people who have had a stroke or suffer from Parkinson's disease or MS.