Conductive Education - Little things mean a lot



I thought I would update everyone on the Conductive Education program that I have been taking K to this summer. If you don’t know what CE is take a look here.

Our commitment is for 5 hours a day, 5 days a week for 6 weeks. Prior to the start of the program I was excited at the promise of progress and dreading being cooped up and committed to this schedule for the summer. As it turns out, we are having a great time! Meeting other parents with similar thought processes and goals for their kids has been wonderful. So much of the time I feel isolated but now I have made some contacts and I hope we can maintain that after the program finishes.

Each day I am amazed at how hard these kids work. They are all troopers. Sure there are tears. Sure there is hollering. Sure there is resistance. But this is HARD work for these kids. Any muscle stretching and strengthening program is going to be hard if you are putting effort into it. These kids don’t get away with slacking. When given a task they are expected to complete it. You don’t give up just because it is hard. You don’t give up just because you are tired. You stop when the task is completed. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just completed. It’s a great work ethic to be teaching.

Now for the yummy stuff!

Before we started the 6 week intensive program the conductor approached me and said she had discussed K’s situation with some other conductors. The consensus was that what is holding K back from successfully standing and walking (his desire to be upright is very evident) is tight Hamstrings and Achilles and that we should spend this time really concentrating on stretching those muscles. So that is what we have been focusing on and we are seeing good results. K has now started to stretch his legs out without assistance while lying on his back. He is able to make a bridge independently on demand. (That really helps with diapering) He is imitating when we are singing songs and when a task is demonstrated to him. His focus has improved immensely. He is printing letters with minimal help and completing work sheets independently. He sat cross-legged today without support for the length of story time. He has learned to play catch with a ball with other children. He kicks the ball while seated on a stool. He can push himself from squat to stand with help for balance. He can pull himself along the length of the plinth with his arms. He can push himself down the length of the plinth with his arms. He can push himself up the length of the plinth with his feet. He can wiggle feathers out from between his toes. (when we were at the spring session he couldn’t even wiggle his toes) I’m sure that is not everything. The little things add up to big things. K knows the routine and if something is done out of order he is quick to point out the task that has been missed.

Today we used K’s new Swash brace for the first time. His sitting posture was greatly improved by the use of the Swash. His back was nice and straight, knees apart and it was much easier for him to keep his feet flat on the floor. Very nice to see. We have also ordered some custom knee braces. These should help with maintaining the improvement to the hamstrings and will also aid in standing and walking tasks. Right now K’s tone is so powerful that we can’t control his foot and leg position for standing with our hands so the braces should free us to work more effectively on those tasks. The goal at this point is standing skills and side stepping with support. I am excited to work on those goals.

I’ll be sure to update you when we get to the end of this. There are actually some physical benefits for the parents too. All of this crawling around really loosens up the old joints!

For more information about this particular program, contact james.forliti@purposesociety.org or view the website at www.purposesociety.org/conductive/conded.html

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