Great strides in special education


Abbey, Tracey and Asha Coad, who has benefitted tremendously from Conductive Education.
Abbey, Tracey and Asha Coad, who has benefitted tremendously from Conductive Education.

Eight-year-old Asha Coad is one of around 70 Perth children enrolled in the program, which runs out of Carson Street School in East Victoria Park and Burbridge School in Koondoola.

Living with cerebral palsy and Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, Asha has made significant strides since beginning Conductive Education nearly five years ago.

Her mother Tracey Coad, vice-president of the Conductive Education Charity of WA (CECWA), said the difference in her daughter was remarkable.

“When Asha started we were sort of closeting her a little bit and concerned about what the future might hold,” she said.

“From day one the people running the program sat her on a plinth and expected her to develop physical skills and communicate more effectively.

“In terms of her stamina, she can now keep going for a full day whereas before she used to have to have a sleep early on.

“Her core strength has improved, so we’ve got a modified bike now where she can sit and just be strapped in but can maintain her upper body strength.

“Communication skills have improved and Asha was also introduced to the pragmatic organisation dynamic display, which is a communication device that gives her the opportunity to communicate through gaze and touch.”

Conductive Education was originally developed in Hungary in the 1940s and is far more widespread in Europe.

“At the moment there are between 60 and 70 kids in the program from the real little ones right through to Year 6,” Mrs Coad said.

“We have had some kids that while still in primary school have exited the program to go into mainstream school because they had made such good gains that they were able to be more successful in that setting.”

Conductive Education arrived in Perth just over a decade ago and there are currently no programs available for high school-aged children – something CECWA is hoping to address with money raised from its biennial Dinner for Dreams fundraising ball.

“This year some of our kids are getting older and moving on to high school age,” Mrs Coad said.

“The teacher conductors that run the program have to be specially trained and we usually have to poach them from Europe.

For more information or to donate directly to CECWA visit www.conductiveedwa.com.au.