What is Conductive Education?

Conductive Education ‘CE’ is a Dynamic Educational Program that teaches people with neuromotor disabilities, such as Cerebral Palsy, how to become active participants in life. Conductive Education as a system has seven significant elements: The Group, Facilitation, Daily Routine, Rhythmic Intention, Conductive Furniture, Task Series, and the Conductor/Conductive Educator.  

The purpose of CE is the development of the whole person physically, cognitively, emotionally and socially. CE addresses each individual’s goals within a group setting which is a powerful motivator where students learn from, interact with, and encourage each other. Being active and engaged stimulates the mind and facilitates success; this promotes increased self-reliance and self-esteem with the expectation of optimum independence.

Continuity is considered necessary to reinforce skills and the opportunity to use the same skill for many different tasks is also considered essential. The system has to provide possibilities for participants to practice emerging skills not only in specific learning situations. CE turns any given part of the day into a learning situation.

Rhythmic Intention is a unique way of facilitating using special verbal commands, the conductor engages the participants’ inner voice to give directions. The commands prepare the person mentally to approach a task, the task is then carried out to rhythmic counting or singing. In this way, the conductor orchestrates learning by integrating movement with verbal, cognitive, and sensory inputs.


Conductive Education’s origin lies in the work of Hungarian Professor Dr András Pető, who founded the National Institute of Motor Therapy ‘The Pető Institute’ in Budapest in the 1940s. Pető created a framework for an educational model in which children with disabilities could have an education that met their particular physical and intellectual needs. Conductive education entered the wider public consciousness in the mid-1980s, as a result of two television documentaries — “Standing Up for Joe” (1986), and “To Hungary with Love” (1987).  

Benefits of Conductive Education

Increased mobility, dexterity and coordination. People who participate in CE programs have increased endurance, maintain better muscle range, joint flexibility and constantly work on their balance. This aids in reducing the frequency of orthopaedic issues.

The tasks are function based movements required for daily living. Participants spend minimal time in their wheelchairs and rely less on hoists and/or frequent lifting.

Improved speech and communication skills. While they are encouraged to develop speech, participants who are non-verbal learn alternative ways to communicate, as it is important to have an array of communication methods.

Improved overall health and well-being. It is common for people with physical impairments to have related health issues such as lung, bowel and digestive problems. The functional movement of Conductive Education alleviates some of these problems, and therefore improves quality of life.