What are we really trying to achieve?
What are we really trying to achieve through Conductive Education?
A good question!
What would you say? Is it the development of problem solving skills?…….. Development of physical skills?…….. Improved communication?……… Development of self care skills?…….. Developments in eating and drinking skills?……. Willingness to try new things?……. Strength and stamina?……. All of these?
Yes all of these but not just these……… we need to look a little deeper!
Here is a little story told by a mum in group last week – A 2 1/2 year old little boy with CP. A trip to his local garden centre with mum, dad and brother. A normal everyday family day out. He wanders (or charges! Posssibly some of both!) around the aisles in his Kaye walker, he finds a plant pot and starts digging in the soil dropping it on the floor OOPS! What a messs! Now I am guessing that maybe his mum and dad weren’t too impressed! But this is what in CE are trying to achieve! – not the mess! (though we manage to often make lots of mess in group!)
SO What has he achieved here? What is it in CE that we are SO pleased about? Well…. through his CE sessions he has developed his confidence to use the physical skills he is developing to independently explore his surroundings, problem solve to navigate new places and explore and learn about the world around him like any other toddler. He is using his hands, using his vision and hearing – handfulls of soil make a good sound as it hits the floor (hopefully not using his sense of taste?! But you never know wouldn’t be the first toddler to eat soil!). In short he is doing everthing you would expect an inquisitive toddler would do – using his hands, body, movement and senses to explore the world around him.
Now to another moment for another child. Sat at the snack table with his friends at the end of his CE session; he pushes himself back from the table, turns himself around on his chair, reaches for his sticks, then stands up and walks to mum. Mum was amazed and proud! He didn’t see what he had done that was so amazing – He wanted to go see his mum so he did?! What are we so excited about?! This may not seem such a big achievement – he is able to walk with his sticks so so what? Well…..He is putting all of his physical skills together, problem solving, planning, co-ordinating and for the first time he has not either got down and crawled to mum or shouted her over to him; he has wanted to go to mum so he has. What has he developed in group? His physical skills – his standing balance, co-ordination walking with his sticks, his ability to transfer skills across situations, his confidence, his motivation and his independence.
Now these are just little snap shots of achievements that demonstrate what we are striving to achieve for every child we work with. Every child is different, every skill learnt will be done differently, every achievement will be individual. But these seemly small ‘normal’ moments in an everyday situation show the development of the childs personality their motivation, determindation and ability to transfer and use their developing skills independently. We are aiming to achieve so much more than learning a physical skill – that learnt skill needs to be used; in a range of situations,for a purpose, with confidence and determination to explore and be independent.