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Conductor Talks: Fireside Chat with Conductor Ildi Dittrich

1. Explain conductive education as if I was a 10 year old

Conductive education is like a workout, and the Conductor is like a personal trainer who knows your strength and challenges. They help you set goals that you want to achieve in order to become the best version of yourself, and knows what motivates you so the whole workout will be challenging but fun at the same time.

Through the workout they teach you new physical skills by creating an environment where your brain and body are forced to work together, so the movements that you are learning become easier and progressively come naturally with repetition.

2. Why is conductive education so effective with Cerebral Palsy and

neurological related complications in general?

CE is based on the notions of neuroplasticity, inner drive, and motivation to become

more active in the learning process of acquiring new physical skills through repetition.

CE is task oriented and requires problem solving and full engagement/active participation. It also emphasises on how to support the special needs individual so they have the physical skill to access their surrounding environment instead of changing the environment to bypass their challenges.

3. What is your favourite part of being a conductor?

Seeing children thrive and being very proud of themselves. Teaching them how to become resilient and seeing them developing an I Can Do It attitude. Seeing families changing their perspective on their child from no expectation to a consistent and realistic one, from feeling sorry for them to seeing a potential in them.

4. What kind of progress can a parent expect with sending their child to

conductive therapy sessions?

Every child is different and, as a result, the progress they make will be different too. It also depends on a few factors such as the intensity/frequency of the sessions, age, current abilities and home routine.

Based on my many years of experience the progress many children made was regarding higher level of independence and improvement in all developmental areas, perseverance, overall strength and stamina, can do attitude, happier demeanour.

5. How many times per week should a parent take their kid to conductive education, and for how long?

CE has a strong emphasis on early intervention. It is highly recommended that parents, if they notice any developmental delay or have any concerns on their childʼs development, seek professional opinion through an assessment instead of waiting months and months.

For babies the recommended times would be at least twice a week for a half an hour session.

For toddlers at least twice a week, 45 minutes to 1 hour sessions.

For preschoolers (2.5-5 years) at least twice a week, 1 - 1.5 hours.

7. What is the biggest challenge about being a conductor?

One of my biggest challenges is as a conductor has been to gain recognition as a practitioner among other health and education professionals. It has been getting better in the last 25 years since I have been working in New Zealand but would love to see more of that.

The other challenge is to get a word out there about CE so parents will be aware of it as an option for intervention and would have a chance to trial it as early as possible.

8. What is something parents can start implementing at home to support the conductive therapy's philosophy and help their children make progress?

Conductive education believes in partnership with parents and the active routine at home based on the shared goals and expectations. it is important to implement the learnt skills in the home environment so they become part of daily life.

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