The Sheffield Symposium took place at the same time as the first session of the Erasmus+ Project “TrACE”. Over three days in the late autumn of 2018, practitioners and others from diverse international conductive education centres came together with colleagues from the three TrACE partners.
Although the two projects had quite separate origins, the common interest in adult and continuing conductive education led to a realisation early in 2017 of the mutual benefit to be gained by working together. The joint Sheffield event was the first result.
We came together to “have a conversation and to begin a conversation”. Our question was quite simply stated: as motor disorder is a lifelong condition, what has conductive education to offer young people and adults, especially those who have experienced conductive education as children and young people?
As this is an area very little reported in conductive education literature, our aim was to bring together practitioners and adults themselves, to share experience and expertise in a one-off event: to seek to address the contribution of continuing conductive education to health, wellbeing and citizenship in adulthood.
The opening Symposium session was dedicated to the ‘wider landscape’ with contributions from Dr Simon Duffy of the Centre for Welfare Reform, Sheffield, talking about citizenship and learning disability in adulthood, and Vibeke Alfred of the Aberdeen Camphill Centre introducing the perspective of social pedagogy. Also making valuable initial contributions were George McDowell from Northern Ireland and Harry Withers, a student at Sheffield Hallam University; two adults who have long experience of conductive education throughout childhood.
Thanks are also due to Andrew Sutton who coordinated the Symposium sessions.
Core funding for the Symposium was a grant from the UK Big Lottery, with other grants making possible individual participation from the Conductive Education Center of Orlando, Florida and the New Zealand Foundation for Conductive Education.
Participants reported the value of the Symposium and the opportunity to meet with TrACE colleagues and all looked forward to the outcomes of the one year – long project and to continuing the conversation about adult and continuing conductive education.
Lisa Gombinsky Roach, Counterpunch Parkinson’s, New Zealand
George McDowell, Northern Ireland
Gill Maguire, Conductive Education Press, England
Susie Mallett, Germany
Norman Perrin, England
Joe Raymond, Conductive Education Centre of Orlando, USA
Rony Schenker. Tsad Kadima, Israel
Ivan Su. SAHK, Hong Kong
Andrew Sutton, Conductive Education Press, England
Krisztina Weiszhaupt. Conductive Education Centre of Orlando, USA
Harry Withers, England