Thursday, July 15, 2010

My take on Conductive Education

Part of the reason that I've been mostly MIA for the last month or so is that we are super, crazy busy. As part of the craziness that is our Summer 2010, we are currently in Halifax, Nova Scotia for the week so Ben can have a week of Conductive Education (CE). CE is not offered where we live, so we drove 2.5 hours away to get it. This also means that we had to rent an apartment and stay for 5 nights.

I don't have the energy for a full-blown post on CE, but suffice to say that after 4 days of sessions (between 1.5 and 2.5 hours in length), I definitely feel that Ben has made progress. I don't feel that what he's been doing in his sessions is all that much different from a physio session, but I do think the intense (i.e. longer and frequent) sessions as well as a change of scenery (i.e. new place, new person, new tasks / toys) has made some difference.

Because the Halifax CE group is pretty new and Halifax is a fairly small centre, Ben did not participate in a camp or class. Instead he had one-on-one sessions with the Conductive Educator. I think he would really benefit from a class / camp. He is really motivated by other kids and I think that would be a huge plus for him. The next closest CE Centre is in Toronto and I am considering taking him there next summer to participate in a camp. It's not that big of a deal for us, since my husband's family is in that area and we would just tack another week on to our summer visit there.

Some improvements that I "think" I see:

1. Very much improved at pulling to stand. Ben has always pulled to stand by using his arms and upper body, instead of putting one foot flat and then rising onto that foot. He now puts his foot flat almost spontaneously and only needs a little assistance / prodding to get into standing. We will certainly be working on this more at home since he is doing so well with it.

2. Learned to use his hands more to get down to the floor (or even fall). Ben does not have the reflexes that typically-developing children have. Part of this week's work focused on having him "reach his hands to the floor" when getting down.

3. Climbing up ladders! We worked on climbing up and down ladders quite a bit. I'm not sure of the all of the benefits of this, but he did great at it! (I've loaded a video of him climbing below.)

4. Not so much on his toes when walking. I don't know why this is, but all of the sudden, he's walking WAY better in his walker. He's still on his toes, but his heels come down farther and more often.

5. Improved sitting. Sitting on his bum is still a challenge for Ben. He can do it, but it takes alot of effort and he still can't get into the position on his own. The w-sits very well and that's his preferred way to sit. This week we spent a lot of time working on "long sitting" - sitting with his legs straight out in front of him. To keep him occupied while sitting this way, he would blow bubbles. He could sit like this for at least 10 minutes.

6. Walking with canes. Ben tried walking with canes for the very first time today. He was very reluctant to try it but we managed to convince him eventually. He did really great. (See video below).

I think my personal feelings on CE are that it's not all that much different from Physio. I would really like to get him into a CE camp with kids his own age. I think the real reason that it works is due to the intensity of the sessions.

For more info on CE in Canada, check out the March of Dimes.

Video 1: Walking with Canes!


Video 2: Climbing!

13 comments:

  1. As if you need more on your plate but you really should look into CME. People travel to Canada from here for 'camps' of CME. (Cuevas Medek Exercises) Maybe your therapists are trained to practice it?? Just a suggestion...I find it to be quite amazing and Oia has moved mountains with it. But Ben is already doing that! He looks great! I know you're proud!

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  2. WoW! Great Job Ben! He is doing wonderful. Good for you for getting him there. We keep thinking about it but haven't actually gone yet. My family is thinking about the one in Grand Rapids. Hopefully soon. For now my kids thought Hailey had enough on her plate transitioning from EI to school. Also wanted to let you know that your painting of the boys is finished, Ii thought it came out great! Just need a few weeks drying time to be able to mail it to you. Thanks again, commissioning me to paint your beautiful boys helps to put us one step forward in raising funds for Haileys CE and other alternative therapies. :)

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  3. How fascinating to read that your response to CE is so similar to that of other parents when I and my daughter first came into contact with CE way back in 1992 when she was about 7 years old.

    We had travelled all the way from Sheffield to Budapest and, like you, her Mum and I knew immediately something different was happening. Like you, too, we first thought it was due to the "intensity of the sessions". But we moved on and understood the "education" bit of "conductive education" - that it was not about exercises but about learning. What we had seen was not our daughter doing more/better, but beginning to see herself, her place in the world, her relationship with others, her capabilities in a new and different way.

    I hope it's OK with you that I've added your blog to "The Conductive Web" website - some pages of links to CE & Parent blogs and other stuff. If it's a problem, let me know via the website: http://bit.ly/91XB6U

    Me? You can find me at http://paces.typepad.com/paces/ where I've put up a short post about your experience and CE.

    My very best wishes to you and your family.
    Norman

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  4. Hi Caryanne

    Ben looks like he’s doing great.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on conductive education.

    In your blog you mentioned that you were not too sure of the reason why he was climbing the wallbars and why we was now walking better in his walker.

    If you watch the video of Ben climbing the wallbars you can see that he has to make alternate leg movements just like when walking. And that to move from one rung to the other requires maximal flexion of the hip knee and ankle. Rachel facilitates him to turn his knees out and prevent adduction so that when walking he won’t ‘scissor’ or trip over his own feet. Climbing wallbars is a fun and motivating way to actively stretch Ben’s legs – without him even realizing! – which is often key with young children.

    It is my belief that this along with other tasks and activities Ben will have participated in this week is what has helped him to walk better in his walker and place his heels down further.

    I know that there are new children enrolling in the NS program of similar age and ability to Ben so hopefully you will be able to have your own group there in the future. However if Toronto is a better option with having friends and family here we would be delighted to meet with you.

    All the best;

    Mhairi Watson
    Senior Conductor
    March of Dimes Canada

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  5. There are a lot of these intense therapies that I would like to one day try with Charlie. I just keep thinking, "when he's a little bit stronger." Seeing Ben is fantastic. Maybe in a year or so Charlie will be ready for something intense like CE.

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