The mystery of potential
If you are familiar with Conductive Education you have probably already heard that one of the ultimate goals of CE is to help the participants to fulfil their potential. If I were to ask: what is human potential, how can anyone fulfil it and how are we able to measure our success? Most people- if not all- would struggle to clearly explain it. By clarifying the aforementioned hopefully you will gain better understanding of why Conductive Education is unique and differs from traditional therapies.
By reading the definition of potential we learn that it refers to a currently unrealized ability. In the context of conductive education it is something a motor disabled individual cannot do alone in their current circumstances. However, with the help of the systemized and well structured rehabilitation program it can be achieved. Therefore during conductive education programs and sessions we are working on enabling the participants to achieve something what they weren`t able to do before. It is different for every child and adult. There are children whose potential is to roll over in bed, communicate with the family members or sit independently to do their schoolwork, while for others it can be independent standing, walking, dressing up alone, effectively communicate with peers and graduate high school. For and adult it might mean to be able to do the housework without any support, feed themselves or drive around in town
Conductive Education is a system of learning therefore conductors aim to provide not just a learning environment but opportunities to explore, experience new things and always heading towards fulfilling potential.
How can someone fulfil their potential?
The definition explain it like achieve as much as someone`s natural ability makes it possible.
The reality is that not just disabled people but everyone was born with different talents and skills, therefore the full potential will mean a different level of ability to each of us. Furthermore potential is not something what we bring into the world but we actively create it. If we commit ourselves to lifelong learning then our potential is getting greater step by step, day by day. In terms of this we are never really fulfilling our potential but increasing it. Our ability gets better in whatever area we decide to focus on.
Why do we chase full potential if we are unable to reach it?
The answer is simple and easy – because by continuous learning we are changing and making progress, and progress causes happiness. Another goal of CE is to improve self-esteem and the level of self-confidence. It is possible by having high but realistic expectation and setting and achieving goals.
I have committed to life-long learning therefore the excitement of progress is a daily guest in my life, but otherwise I am lucky enough to witness the progress of each child and adult who participates in the sessions of Conductive Life Service. Just to mention a few examples:
A 13 year old boy, who spends his days in a wheelchair sat out from his chair and challenged himself to sit on a stool without any back support. After 3 months of practice he maintained his sitting on the stool for 45 minutes while happily playing without worrying of falling from the stool. There were 4 different teachers and assistants at school who visited our sessions and seen for the first time what he is able to do. They were very impressed and somehow surprised how was it possible that they have never seen him being able to sit without the support of his wheelchair. Since then he has also learnt how to take his own shoes and socks off. We can measure his time of independent sitting, or how long does it take to remove his shoes but the pride of achieving it is hardly measurable.
9 year old boy had a horrific fear of height. Physically he would be able to climb the stairs but his fear stopped him. Within 4 weeks he was empowered enough to face and conquer his fear. Again we can measure how many steps he can take but the joy of the boy, the mother`s pride and the importance of the relief that he can climb any stairs after that is something what we cannot put down in numbers.
A year ago a support worker was delighted that a 24 year old participant asked for the opportunity to brush his own teeth at home for the first time ever. I repeat: at the age of 24! He had never been given the opportunity to try it because no one thought that he is able to do it. I have seen a happy care giver and an excited young adult just step to the next level of independence. How could you measure this?
An 11 year old girl works hard on standing up without any aid and walking with minimum support. She had a fear of falling. With time and experience she has learnt that unfortunately she cannot avoid falling, but if she tries she might be able to take steps. Yes, she might fall. But if she falls she has the ability to get up again. She is unstoppable now. Not because she never falls, but she untiringly practices and believes in herself. Again, whether you can measure the progress or not this young lady now has the treasure to know that she can learn anything and achieve whatever she puts into her mind.
From these cases you can find out that:
We focus on the current ability, see the potential and show the participants what they can achieve and who they can become
The professionals of Conductive Education are trained and experienced to teach skills for all areas of development including gross and fine motor skills, social and emotional skill, skills for daily living activities. Conductors are also aware that the life of a disabled individual is highly dependent on their own belief system and the expectation of the environment. They learnt to support not only the participants but to provide advice and help everyone who is involved in their day to day life.
Sometimes we are not able to show the progress in numbers but the impact of conductive education can be measured by smiles, pride, changes in attitude and the determination to try one more time.
What is the role of Conductive Education between the traditional therapies?
I had gained experience in public, private and voluntary sectors and in each area I faced lots of negativity and criticism. Amongst other reasons the following are the most common:
The misunderstanding of the competences of conductors
Competition and `conflict of interest` between health care professionals and conductors
There is no adequate number research and scientific studies behind Conductive Education
The Conductor qualification embraces a huge and wide area of knowledge including education, health care and rehabilitation. We all know that it is hardy possible to learn such a great area in depth and master each part of the training. Therefore the conductors’ role is not to perfectly know each area such as physiology, teaching theory, the development of personality, leading a group of children or be able to function as a teacher, trainer, counsellor, consultant and coach at the same time.
But the conductors are committed to
Teach children and adults with motor disabilities to focus on their abilities instead of limitation
Provide opportunities, inspire and motivate participants to try and learn new skill which enable them to be more active and independent
Encourage the participants to be proud of their achievement and help to improve their confidence
Believe that everyone is able to learn and by life-long learning they can witness incredible transformations
See Conductive Education as a system of learning and way of living
Work alongside with every and any other professional who aim to improve the quality of life of the disabled individual because we see the children and adults as a unified whole but we admit that other professionals knowledge and expertise are inevitable in order to know, understand and effectively improve the condition of our participants
At Conductive Life Service we believe that Life-long learning must apply for not just our participants but for our professionals too. It is also means that we might need to improve our skills in certain areas but we are dedicated learners in order to give the highest quality of service possible.