Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Why is it that on the day when yer wife says, "I wanna go out for sushi tonight," that all you have in the fridge for lunch is rice and veggies?  What to do?

Monday, January 14, 2013

BC Conductive Education Association?

     I figure it's time to just make one of these: an organization for anyone in BC who is interested in conductive education - folks with or without motor disorders, parents, conductors, professionals, and so forth.   Having meetings and sitting around talking is hard to do; as few of us (us parents and those dealing with motor disorders) have time to do this;  but we can start with a website.  Please let me know if you're interested in helping to set up the BCCEA.  I am talking with a web-designer guy to get things started.

I started a google-thing for this, but it's not easy to gain access to; not helpful at all.  I wish to set up an easy-to-use web page for people all over BC to use; so us CE aficionados have a way to make ourselves known to each other, and a way to put our heads together.  Any and all projects or ideas people have to make CE more accessible, more woven into the schools and routines we all take part in; that is the aim.  Ideally, things will happen, with the help of an association, to make CE more affordable, more accessible, and just plain bigger in B.C.

Reply here or email me at     Talk soon!  - J.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

You want to help? Get out of [IN] the way.

  I know I've beaten this phrase to death; but the memory of it stands out so clear.  My Dad had the Volvo up on jacks, in the garage, during one of our Minnesota winters.  He had his wood-burning stove going too; and I don't remember what he was doing to that little white Volvo station wagon in which I smooched Joan and Vicki for the first time.  Anyway, I was out there wanting to learn something and Dad in his wisdom knew that I was more interested in the carburetors than the laws of gravity and the jacks holding the thing up.  After all, he was a construction superintendent; the guy knew hazards and how easily neophytes can find them.  So he uttered his 'famous' phrase: you want to help?  Get out of the way.
    Where I was going with this was to say that sometimes getting out of the way isn't the best thing to do.   Anne Wittig, QCS, conductor extraordinaire is still here!  The Vancouver area is one of the most insulting housing markets on Earth, and I had many quiet fears that Anne would be here for one year, and then say, Winnipeg ain't so bad compared to this! Surely, Manitoba has perhaps a few less mountains; but at least one can buy a house there.  Out here?  Ach, don't get me started.  My point was that conductive education is not an easy career.  The only way I could see to really help Anne & Chris settle in here was to say, "Welcome to B.C.  Start your own business.  I know some people who would like your services."  That's really all I had for her.  Since then, she has found many more people who like her services; but they're spread around.  Still it's just simply fantastic to me now that there is a conductive education service running out here;  but (you knew there was a "but" - stop acting surprised) how much can one conductor do?  I mean, yes, she owns a car and stuff; and families are calling her lots.  Her schedule is full; but still she spends almost half her working time DRIVING.  Goodness, she's not a cab driver!  And you should see the baskets full of toys and stuff she's been carting along.  Finally, she got a hockey bag for her toys; and now she is a truly Canadian conductor.
     Nonetheless, it's not ideal for a conductor to be so itinerant.  It is also a fact that kids with motor disorders do not all live in the same neighbourhood and go to the same school.  We have to find them where they are and get the conductor to them. I should talk!  I'm not even doing it; Anne is!  There must surely be something we can do though, us parents, us people who need to see conductive education on a more daily basis; more in the main stream; more accessible.  What is it that needs to happen?  Maybe it's time for people to get IN THE WAY.  Nobody knows more than you parents about how this should happen.  Anne can't do this all on her own; and we need to get more conductors out here.  Any ideas?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Irresistable or not?

In my family, where we have my son 50%; and his school is NOT conductively oriented; it has been a long, somewhat sad road. I've been asking his teachers for YEARS to consider doing things a different way. I've been met with a cascade of yawns and blank stares. Finally, this year, he has ONE TEACHER who is willing to give things a try. So, we start by introducing them to Blue's legs; and after a few months, now they are waking up and really getting interested in it.  The application of CE in this case is fundamental.  It makes sense, and brings a smile not only to Blue but his teachers as well. It is, for lack of a better word, irresistable. That also could be read as "attractive."
       I am used to defining my son and our situation as kind of hopeless; but now some things are starting to happen which wonderfully are looking like they can't be stopped.  Much of it would not have happened had we not been exposed to CE when he was three years old, and the use of his legs and hands, and voice, etc. hadn't begun in earnest long before he was glommed onto by the school system. The upkeep and continual learning at home was the key element. What is happening in the school, though I am glad to see it, is frankly; very litte and very late. I won't rain on their happiness. Blue is happy about it, but I have seen what has happened with some kids who are free from the politics and stodginess that has hampered my boy. I know things could have been more remarkable for him; but that is a rather heavy and sad line that is somewhat unproductive to follow.
       The key is the irresistability. As individuals, we have often been turned away by folks who don't want to bother with CE. I have seen the largest public school district in BC, Surrey; ask me and Anne for a pilot project proposal and once they had it, nothing happened. I have seen a school  (the Mediated Learning Academy, which was founded on a method that walks perfectly with CE) plug their ears when a conductor appeared. The founder of mediated learning, Feuerstein himself; has gone very public with his love and respect for CE; yet the practitioners of his method here became somewhat offended when one of our families brought a real, live conductor in as a helper and advisor for their child. Feuerstein would surely have had something to say; but of course, nothing happened; and two families who were paying dearly for a place at that school pulled their children out. And the same challenge awaited them at the next school. How to get the conductor through the doors?
     It did happen at the new school, but CE still seems to be an activity that happens on the fringes. So even though we, upon discovery, fall in love with CE; it is unfortunately VERY RESISTABLE to the 'system' and those in it who have no desire to sprout new wings or change things up.  British Columbians who care about CE need to become more than a loose collection of folks who have heard of each other; regardless of how we are doing CE. CE is still CE, and that is worth standing up for; pun intended. Zsipp-Zsupp!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Invite to those interested in starting a BC CE Association.

     I think it's time to organize a BC CE Association.  Working in a vacuum is ridiculous, especially when I see how quick folks want to work  conductive education into their programs; be it home schooling, a public school family, independent schools, what have you.  We don't need a lot of people, but regardless of WHAT you are doing with CE, or how, CE is still what it is, and we can all benefit and help each other out by forming a public face for it.  Contact me if you're interested in being part of the association.  My main focus is to form it loosely, so it's not a big demand on our time; but can serve as a support for anyone trying to do anything with CE in BC.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Least Necessary Help. . .

Holy smokes.  Seriously, this one kills me; because in the world of able-bodied edumacation, "least necessary help" is the absolute norm.  Overexplaining, overly necessary help, simply strangles the educational opportunities that could pop and leap in the brain of a student. I call it staying out of one's peanut butter.  Imagine opening a fresh jar of peanut butter (the cheap stuff that has the bad hydrogenated oils in it).  It's a perfect swirl, unbroken and smooth.  You're just about to dig into it when along comes someone else and, like a perfect smartass, they plunge their silly butter-knife into your peanut butter and the moment is spoiled.  It's no longer yours. 
When I'm asking a student a question, it's quite often part of my routine to remind all the others in the room to "stay out of their peanut butter."  Let them think, let them try it, don't put an idea in their brain for them.  See what develops. 

In the conductive world, this is known as the "least necessary help."  I think there's a truckload of respect and dignity in this process.  After all, what's the point of 'caring for' someone if we don't 'care for' who they are?  We have to care about what they can do, what they'd like to do, what gives them a charge and some confidence.  

I'd go so far as to say that "least necessary help" is more of a human right than an educational precept.  What my son does is his.  My job is to help him have who he is and become who he is and who he wants to be; not simply change his clothes, clean him up, and keep him packaged, protected, and provendered.  I would think this is terribly obvious.  It seems ridiculous to even state it; yet when conductive types are trying to protect the peanut butter of their learners, a good deal of growling over the jar needs to happen, perhaps even the odd bite. 

As for those who disagree, the reverse applies.  
Bite me!   

Monday, July 16, 2012


So, that bastion of journalistic integrity, 60 Minutes, did a piece on the guy who wrote the biography of Steve Jobs.  Along the way, they touched on some of the quirkier sides of the Apple inventor; his less attractive habits, some of which had to do with not wanting to embrace all the simple traffic laws.  Turns out he was in the habit of misusing handicapped parking spaces.

 And here I am, all grateful and such over his invention the iPad; but turns out if I met the guy in a parking lot it might an iPunch I'd be contemplating.  I wonder what sort of explanation he'd offer.

"i'M the cat's ass. iCan do what iWant."

  Okay, Steve, we miss ya; but, . . .really?