Walking unaided is now a realistic goal for three-year-old Ryan Griffin from Hawera thanks to attending weekly one-on-one Conductive Education classes in New Plymouth.

“When Ryan was born I was told it was unlikely he would be able to move from the waist down, but after just two conductive education sessions he was bum shuffling and now three years on walks confidently with a frame,” says mum Ange Griffin.

Ryan is one of 20 children who attend regular conductive education classes at the centre’s base at Westown Primary School. The students, who have a range of movement and developmental disorders, attend one to two two-hour classes per week where they undertake the specialist Hungarian training programme to reduce their dependence on aids and increase their independence.

“Before we opened our centre last year family’s like Ryan’s were forced to travel to Wellington or Hamilton to access the specialist classes or miss out completely,” says Conductive Education Coordinator Craig Nielsen.

The Griffins are one of six families who accessed scholarships through Te Karaka Foundation to attend Conductive Education classes in New Plymouth for a year.

“A generous woman with a passion for children and education awarded four of the scholarships and through the legacy of former school teacher Winifred Knight we have been able to offer a further two scholarships to families from Central and South Taranaki. So in total six families whose children would benefit from conductive education received scholarships,” says Te Karaka Chair Ken Horner.

“The scholarship is an enormous help. Coming from Hawera, we have the added burden of travel costs and, like all families with children with physical disabilities, we face additional costs to access things like other physical therapies, specialist appointments, specialised equipment, etc” says Ange.

Conductive Education is a globally accepted Hungarian educational philosophy for motor disordered individuals. A specially trained ‘Conductor’ delivers a holistic, inclusive program that empowers the learner to achieve their potential through an individualised goal system suited to everyday life.