Date: January 2, 2007
Contact: Eric Matanyi
Governors State University
Phone: (708) 534-4044
Fax: (708) 534-8399
For Immediate Release
University Park, Illinois, January 2, 2007 – The College of Health Professions at Governors State University (GSU), fast becoming known as a regional leader in healthcare education and research, recently took a steps to become a world leader in conductive education.
In the fall of 2006, the college began offering a Certificate in the Principles of Conductive Education (CE). While a few other organizations around the world offer similar programs, the certificate offered at GSU differs because it is the only one in the world available online.
According to Dr. Robbie O’Shea, physical therapy professor and program coordinator for the certificate at GSU, the program has been overwhelmingly well received. “Although our first group of students is from the U.S., we’ve received inquiries from around the globe,” she said. “As the only online certificate of its kind anywhere, we anticipate a growing international presence and student body in the coming years.”
The program is also gaining attention because it brings together experts from around the world to teach its courses. Dr. Ildiko Kozma of Budapest Hungary recently retired from the Peto Institute, where conductive education was developed. She is still involved as a respected consultant for the institute. A professor at Latrobe University in Melbourne, Australia, Helen Bourke-Taylor is a noted occupational therapist. Governors State’s own Dr. O’Shea is a practicing physical therapist in addition to her role as an educator and certificate program coordinator. As a group, they represent a “dream team” of educators in the field of conductive education.
In mid-December, Dr. O’Shea hosted Kozma and Bourke-Taylor at Governors State for a week of training, course development, and team building. During their week in the U.S., the visiting educators developed learning modules for the courses and met with the associated lab school personnel. The weeklong summit allowed the faculty to become familiar with new advances in online teaching pedagogy and delivery. They were also able to synchronize course materials, creating a unified curriculum that will be delivered from three countries.
Conductive Education offers physical therapists, occupational therapists and other health professionals an alternative to traditional therapies and treatment methods. “This method of treatment differs because it emphasizes and facilitates the learning processes more than manual facilitation commonly used in traditional therapy,” according to Dr. O’Shea. The method also includes conductor teachers as an integral part of the rehabilitation team. The method is appropriate for children and adults with motor disorders resulting from damage or disease to the central nervous system. While most widely used for treating patients with cerebral palsy, it is also used for those with Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, and stroke.
According to Dr. Kozma, conductive education’s flexibility allows it to be coordinated with more traditional methods of physical therapy, offering patients treatments that target both the body and the mind. “It’s important to remember, however, that the methodology behind conductive education is much different than traditional therapy methods.
While traditional physical therapy targets the body, Conductive Education works to repair the brain. The method incorporates the specialized needs of individuals with motor disorders into a framework of strategies focusing on learning to solve problems, accepting responsibility, interacting and communicating, and optimizing motor skills and coordination while learning to function in daily life.
This alternative treatment method was introduced to Australia in the late 1980s, according to Helen Bourke-Taylor. She said that it took some time for conductive education to become accepted by healthcare professionals there.
“In order for this method to be effective, it is important to understand the entire model and its methodology,” said Bourke-Taylor. “Equally as important is a therapist’s willingness to be open to trying new types of learning like conductive education. The pairing of an open mind with a full understanding of the methodology is the only way health professionals can maintain the integrity of this type of treatment.”
Conductive education is gaining acceptance in the United States as well. American patients are exposed to conductive education through one of 56 specialized centers throughout the U.S. Unfortunately, according to Dr. O’Shea, not everyone who could benefit from this type of treatment has access to one of the centers.
“In addition to simply increasing knowledge among healthcare professionals in these methods, we also hope to help make conductive education available in places other than the CE centers,” O’Shea said. She cited school districts, long-term rehabilitation centers, and hospitals treating chronic conditions as possible locations where patients could benefit from the process.
For more information regarding the Certificate in the Principles of Conductive Education at Governors State University, visit www.govst.edu/cecert or contact Dr. O’Shea at (708) 235-3994 or firstname.lastname@example.org.