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Norman
Sheffield UK
Former CEO & Co-Founder of Paces; Dad to Sarah, a young woman with cerebral palsy, living independently thanks to Conductive Education
Recent Activity
Sarah needs a new wheelchair. There are two criteria (i) that she maintains her mobility, moving herself around independently and (ii) some form of support to help her sit up straighter. Shouldn't be difficult, should it, you'd think. Well, I'll not go into the details but have a read of someone else's experience. Read Chris Whittaker's account of what his wife Fran faced. Getting a wheelchair that is fit for purpose: Mission Impossible? "Fran’s wheelchair is quite literally the centre... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
"If you have tears, prepare to shed them now. Tears of grief at the loss of a beautiful, vulnerable 18 year old young man, tears of love for his amazing mother, family and friends, and tears of rage about a system that didn’t just let him die through neglect, but consistently refused to take responsibility for his death and for far too long failed to give him and his family justice." So begins Stephen Unwin's review of "Justice for Laughing... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
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On the very day that "Justice for Laughing Boy. Connor Sparrowhawk - A Death by Indifference " is published, also launched is a new website "An Ordinary Home". An Ordinary Home "is a family led forum that offers support, resources and campaigning for people detained in assessment and treatment units; secure hospitals; locked rehab units. The aim is for the people to be released from detention into a home of their choosing in their community." "This forum is private. It... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
Conductive living? Conductive lifestyle? Lifetime conductive education? Call it what you will, there's shockingly little in the literature. What does continuing conductive education mean for young people when school years are left behind and especially for adults as they grow older? In late October, in Sheffield, we hope ask these questions and begin to share some answers. But first a little personal history. When we first went to the Petö Institute, Sarah was still young but no longer a little... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
Consider this: “At the seminar, during a break, I asked one of the speakers when she had most recently heard that the education of children with cerebral palsy was a 'problem', a matter for public debate? As she appeared not to comprehend the question, I suggested she substitute autism, or dyslexia or emotional and behavioural difficulties for cerebral palsy. She then agreed that she was indeed aware of the continuing public discussion about the education of children with autism or... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
We have gone beyond "could do better". If you doubt that we are living within a system collapsing into chaos, then read these reports. My concern is for adults and the system of adult social care in England. So it might seem odd that I begin with a report on teenagers: "The wellbeing of secondary school pupils with special educational needs". In a moment I will focus on the report but first the report's title and a question. What happens... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
In the great scheme of things, it matters not a lot. But it matters to me. In 2013, at the 8th World Congress of Conductive Education in Munich, I was immensely proud (and not a little humbled) to be made an Honorary Conductor. Ever since, I have described myself (in my standard email signature, for instance) as an "Honorary Conductor of the Petö Andras College of Conductive Education". In a few days time, on the 1st August, the Petö Andras... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
We all talk about "cerebral palsy" as if it exists, don't we? Or we can't get away from using the term because everyone else does. What if cerebral palsy doesn't exist? What if it's just a label, a label of convenience? What if ADHD does not exist? Or dyslexia? What if "cerebral palsy" is a "crypto-pathology" as Tom Bennett writing recently in the Times Educational Supplement, described ADHD and Dyslexia? Be reassured! No, I haven't suddenly lost my mind. But... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
On the experience of being a parent of a disabled child (or adult) engaging with care professionals. What follows is reblogged from 'faithmummy" posted almost a year ago on 24th May 2016 as "The Insignificant Mother". Miriam, for that is her name, captures precisely the culture endemic to professionals in the care system and their attitudes that so need to change. Parents of adult children with disabilities may fare even worse as those who follow Mark Neary's blog, 'Love, Belief... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
I do enjoy finding support for conductive education principles and practices outside conductive education itself. Here are two examples, the first is Ed Balls talking about his Strictly Come Dancing training partner Katya Jones and how she taught him to "inhabit the characters he was playing more fully". As a politician, he says, "you're used to performance. But in a dance performance you have to put yourself aside." (Sunday Times Magazine April 16 2017) Jones got Balls to embrace his... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
Today, I read that the Charity Commission for England and Wales is undertaking a consultation that "will inform the review of the approach to registering organisations that promote complementary and alternative therapies." (CAM). "What's that to do with us?" I can hear managers and parents and Trustees saying. "What's that got to do with conductive education? Well, as most conductive education organisations in the Uk are registered charities, depending in some cases entirely on charitable fundraised income, what would you... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
Yesterday, I wrote to His Excellency Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, the Ambassador of Hungary in London. If you care about adult continuing conductive education, I suggest you do the same. If you are not in the UK, write to your own country's Ambassador. My message was simple: to request the Ambassador to use his good offices "to urge all parties to take all necessary steps to ensure the continuation at Pető András Főiskola of services for adults, including the training of Conductors... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
For many of us in conductive education, our fundamental purpose is that children and young people with motor disorders become independent adults as active citizens. My daughter Sarah lives independently in the community in a supported living arrangement along with two of her friends. She accesses adult and continuing conductive education thanks to Paces. It is a wholly successful arrangement that has enabled her to grow and mature as a person. You may not be familiar with DoLS - the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
In a recently received notice from the Social Pedagogy Development Network: Nurturing Well-being From averting adversity, to supporting recovery from trauma, and increasing happiness, well-being plays a central role in social pedagogy across the spectrum. As a holistic and relationship-centred approach, social pedagogy aims to create a learning environment that enhances physical, emotional, social, mental and spiritual well-being. This relies on our ability to develop authentic relationships with the people we’re supporting – relationships in which we engage with head,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
I've been reading "Eight Elements for Success". It's a free iBook from Apple Education. The book introduces eight elements that are the foundations for successfully creating technology-rich learning environments. The eight elements "represent what we’ve learned from over 30 years of working with education leaders to envision, plan, implement, and evaluate environments that meet the needs and aspirations of their institutions.” What of conductive education? In a moment I will list Apple's eight elements, but first we must be clear... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
Education professionals in the UK have no interest whatsoever in the education or schooling of children with motor dysfunctions from birth. Education professionals? Yes: politicians; civil servants, academics, local authority officers, even teachers. You say I'm wrong? Then link me to the debates in Parliament, the DfE briefing papers, the research studies, the conference presentations, the consultation agendas which specifically deal with the education and schooling of children with motor dysfunctions. Where is the discussion of the relevant specialist training... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
I consider myself fortunate to have been brought up in the broadly Anglican tradition, for one simple reason – doubt. Doubt, it has seemed to me, is inherent in the essence of the Church of England; and a very good thing too. The publication in the mid-1960s of “Honest to God” wherein John Robinson, Bishop of Woolwich doubted even the existence of God (“Death of God” - google it or check it out on Wikipedia) captured my questioning late-teenage student... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
For my first blog post for 2017 - and first for a while - here's something that came my way a while ago and which I've just found when cleaning up my email Inbox. It's an infographic of statistics and facts about cerebral palsy that might be of some use to some readers. It comes with a caveat though: the infographic has been developed by 'UKS Mobility - Healthcare Products' and to a conductive educator is inevitably and firmly from... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
"What Works is based on the principle that good decision-making should be informed by the best available evidence. If evidence is not available, decision-makers should use high quality methods to find out what works." So says the Government website. Stands to reason, doesn't it? Evidenced based public policy. Spend scarce resources on what works. Increasingly often in education, it seems, the evidence comes from randomised control trials. Well maybe we should pause for a little thought? For instance: "Understandings and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2016 at C.E. Jottings
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I just wanted to help extend awareness of this powerful poster for The Centre for Welfare Reform's "7 Keys to Citizenship". Shortly, I will add a note as to its origin and the links. Meanwhile, here's the poster. What I'm asking myself is whether these 7 keys to citizenship help us discuss orthofunction and conductive education across the lifespan when our children with developmental disabilities become adults. Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2016 at C.E. Jottings
My previous post scratched at the surface of thinking about "Work, Citizenship and Orthofunction". Andrew Sutton picked up on it in "Adults' Voices - Three Bloggers". I think he gets somewhere near the nub of it in describing our society as one that "has little real idea of how it thinks of children with developmental disabilities, what it really wants for their future lives". I read a thought-filled blog post a couple of days ago, that might be worth a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2016 at C.E. Jottings
The aim of conductive education, one might say, is orthofunction. One way I interpreted this when at Paces was that our aim for all children and adults was “independent adulthood as active citizens”. Just hold that as a thought for a moment. Who knows what a “saggar makers bottom knocker” was? Saggar-making was a skilled job requiring a craftsman, someone with experience; bottom-knocking however was less skilled, often left to young lads who worked with the saggar makers. There were... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2016 at C.E. Jottings
Paces news has just announced that the Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, responsible for apprenticeships and skills in the Department for Education, is the keynote speaker at Paces annual seminar which takes place on 20 October. This year’s seminar is being run in association with Action Cerebral Palsy, and will address current trends and issues around disability with the intention of ensuring all voices – from individuals with cerebral palsy to parents to professionals – are heard by those in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2016 at C.E. Jottings
So what one thing would you do if you were Prime Minister for the day? Lord O'Donnell, Gus O'Donnell, former Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, interviewed in today's The Times "Good luck dismissing the experts if your car breaks down, Mr Gove" (£ paywall), makes a somewhat surprising proposal: "If I could be prime minister for a day, the first thing I would do is to make schools measure the well-being of their pupils." Admittedly, his reasoning... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2016 at C.E. Jottings
On June 24th this year, TES (once The Times Educational Supplement) had an article "The False Promise of Neuroeducation" by Hilary and Steven Rose. If you want to catch the article it's behind a paywall. I did't read it - because I had just then bought the Rose's book "Can neuroscience change our minds?" A good read it was too. But I didn't quite buy in to the basic premise, of which more in a moment. I did read, many... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2016 at C.E. Jottings