And so, the 6th World Congress of Conductive Education draws to a close with tomorrow morning's session, and with it my Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship. Both will require time for reflection on what I have seen and heard.
However, I was struck here in Goteburg, as never before in a Conductive Education Congress, of the number of contributors and delegates from professions other than CE, and of how much higher is the number of people working in multi-disciplinary or trans-disciplinary settings, in at least one case, the Conductor in the team not having a lead role.
As CE spreads world-wide it will no doubt, sometimes temporarily, sometimes more permanently, take on many, sometimes strange shapes. Sometimes, no doubt, those stranger shapes may have little connection with CE as Peto or Hari would recognise it. That is the reality. Or one reality. Another, different, alternative reality is to question the need for these shapes: why, for instance, do we need the increasingly common, apparently, multi-disciplinary or trans-disciplinary teams? One answer, in Hong Kong, for instance, is that there are no conductors. It's true: there simply aren't enough Conductors to go round. Another answer might be that these 'professions ancilliary to medicine' that make-up the membership of these 'teams' pre-exist CE and so want a piece of the action as the price for admitting CE to the therapeutic feast (that's assuming we agree CE is a therapy of course. Another day: another debate). Such a view (perhaps too cynical/realist, for some tastes,) does not preclude the fine work of those who approach CE via physical therapy, occupational therapy or communication therapy; nor does it preclude the fine work multi-disciplinary or trans-disciplinary teams might do. Yet, for some, it does raise the question as to whether what is happening in such teams is actually "Conductive Education" as Peto or Hari would recognise it, despite the claims of some to be 'applying the principles of conductive education'.
So, as Conductive Education enjoys its travels around the world, it is nevertheless good to be reminded by Congresses such as these, that, as the song has it, it's 'so much nicer to come home' and to be reminded why we set out on the journey in the first place: to listen to those speakers, meet those colleagues, who talk of a practice and a system that is recognisably Conductive Education. To everyone, I would say thank you for coming together to share your work; to these last ones, however, I am especially grateful; just as I am to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust for making possible my journey this past 6 weeks.