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Taking the “Dis” out of Disability

Conductive Education Canterbury

Story 1: Taking the “Dis” out of Disability

Children with physical disabilities due to motor disorders or developmental delays have been benefiting from the good work done by Conductive Education Canterbury (CEC) for the last 14 years.

One firm advocate of early intervention and the services provided to children and their families is Assistant All Black Coach Wayne Smith. Wayne’s son Josh has cerebral palsy but Wayne says that although it has put limitations on what Josh can do, it has not stopped him from achieving.

“We started meeting with specialists when Josh was two. Initially we were told that there was nothing wrong with him and that we had to stop comparing him to his twin brother. We persevered and once cerebral palsy was confirmed we were able to get help from practical people, the ones that deal with CP patients on a daily basis.”

“The important thing for us as parents has been accessing care early for Josh and for us to be able to meet other families in a similar position, to be given support instead of obstacles with the ultimate goal of assisting Josh and others with cerebral palsy to live life to their fullest potential, says Mr Smith.

Keiran Horne’s 4 year old daughter has been attending CEC for the last 2 years and the change in Lily is incredible.

“Lily has gone from strength to strength since being enrolled with CEC. When we first started the programme Anna Maria’s (Conductor) expectation of what Lily would achieve seemed so high compared to what our paediatrician had told us. Lily has continued to reach goals that we never imagined were possible. I would encourage other parents to come and visit CEC – they have nothing to lose and everything to gain” says Keiran.

Developed in Hungary in 1945, CEC is providing hope for many parents of seeing their children lead full and productive lives. Conductive Education is available in Christchurch for children from birth right through their school years. “The aim of our programme is to motivate and guide the children to develop self-awareness, the ability to problem solve and ultimately achieve maximum independence,” says Sally Thomas, CEC manager.

The programme is both a licensed early childhood centre and a Ministry of Education accredited early intervention service, and enjoys strong support from both the education and health sectors and from other disability organisations such as CCS and the Cerebral Palsy Society.

Ms Thomas says the philosophy is that all children and adults with motor disorders of neurological origin can learn. “Programmes are planned and implemented by our Conductor and Early Intervention Teacher. Working in a group situation Conductive Education improves all areas of development including fine motor, gross motor, communication and social, cognitive and self-help and life skills,” she says.

CEC does not just focus on the children. They take an extremely holistic view, which reaches out to the whole family, working with parents to educate them on practical ways to understand their child’s needs and assist them with reaching realistic goals.

For more information on CEC and how they can help you contact 03 372 1399 or visit their website

Story 2: The Opening of the Building
Word Count: 198

Over 10 years of planning came to fruition for Conductive Education Canterbury in the weekend, with the opening of their new $450,000 purpose-built facility, on the site Addington Primary School.

Conductive Education Canterbury (CEC) is an intensive, comprehensive and structured learning programme for the rehabilitation of children with motor disorders.

Sally Thomas, CEC manager says that the central location of the new building will assist in providing a seamless transition for children from the early intervention programme into the Addington Primary and then eventually to the Cashmere High School Conductive Education programmes.

“After many years of strategic planning we now have a facility which has been built to meet the complex needs of the children who attend the programme,” she says.

The facility was built from a combination of monies provided by a discretionary grant from the Ministry of Education, trusts and sponsorship from various local businesses.

“We are very grateful to the Ministry of Education, Placemakers Riccarton,
John McGrail and Dalmain Architecture, Carlo Heeman, Pink Batts, Fletcher Reinforcing, Winstone Wallboards, Hartnells Coolheat, Devi Comfort Heat, Mark Herring Lighting, Canterbury Community Trust, Bendigo Valley Sports & Charity Foundation, NZ Lottery Grants Board and Variety – The Children’s Charity for their exceptional generosity and recognition of the importance of this facility to the children it services,” says Ms Thomas.


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