In January, a ground-breaking conductive educational (CE) program took place for three weeks at the Queen Rania Al Abdullah Hospital for Children in cooperation with the Budapest-based Moira Conductive Education Center, with the support of King’s Academy.
Conductive education is a comprehensive method of learning by which individuals with neurological and mobility impairment, such as cerebral palsy (CP), learn to specifically and consciously perform actions that children without such impairment learn through normal life experiences. Conductive education involves all aspects of functionality, from physical functioning to communication to cognitive development to social interaction, experimentation and psychological acceptance.
The program was organized through the school’s Kursi wa Kitab initiative. One of Kursi wa Kitab’s goals is to help establish a conductive education program in Jordan for children with CP. To that end, in 2014 it organized the kingdom’s first CE training program.
“Kursi wa Kitab works at the country level, discovering programs helpful to children with disabilities, and at the school level, teaching King’s students about the importance of becoming a more inclusive community,” said faculty member Rana Matar, who established Kursi wa Kitab.
Building on the pilot program, King’s invited CE specialists from the Moira Center to Jordan to provide a second intensive CE program for children with CP. Founded in 1987 by Agnes Borbély, the Moira Center runs conductive educational programs around the world for children and adults with physical disabilities, and for the training of professionals. King’s had donated all the equipment from the 2014 program to the Queen Rania Hospital for Children, which was therefore well-equipped to host the next program.
The program began with an information session held at King’s for the participating families, King’s students, parents and faculty. Next, Moira’s CE specialists Aliz Petri and Kornélia Szilvàsiné Balla conducted an initial assessment of the 20 children participating in the program before dividing them into three groups: parents and children, kindergarten-aged and school-aged children. The specialists worked with each group for several hours a day, assisted by the hospital’s physiotherapists who were introduced to conductive educational methods through the hands-on practical training enabling them to incorporate elements of it into their work.
“With conductive education we work with and look at the whole child,” said Petri. “In cases of cerebral palsy the brain is affected, so among other things movement is also affected. It’s about educating the movement of kids with physical disabilities at the cognitive level. We work on exercises for movement, cognition, speech, fine manipulation, vision — everything is included.”
With only three weeks to conduct the intensive program — in Hungary, CE is built into the national educational system — the specialists none-the-less noted big improvements in the children by the end of the three weeks.
“We are teaching kids to be as independent as possible; it includes everything from getting out of bed, going to the toilet, brushing teeth, getting from A to B,” said Szilvàsiné Balla. “The most important part of the program was to give parents, and the physiotherapists, the knowledge so that after we leave, they keep practicing and the children continue to improve.”
After the successful conclusion of the program, King’s Kursi wa Kitab students are now working on producing instructional booklets, including material they are translating into Arabic, pictures and songs, for the program’s participants to help them continue the exercises effectively.
- Conductive Education