ORLANDO, Fla. – What started more than 20 years ago as a small pilot program is now a thriving non-profit organization serving individuals with neurological motor disabilities.
The Conductive Education Center of Orlando uses an innovative, whole-person approach called “conductive education.” CECO just received $250,000 in grants from Orange County.
“They not only need to develop their mind. We have to take care of their bodies as well. That’s what we do in conductive education. We basically focus on the whole person every single day,” said Dr. Krisztina Weiszhaupt, CECO’s Executive Director. “Basically we use educational strategies to teach physical, fine motor, social and communication skills. We teach skills how to control their body or how to work with their body so they can maintain an independent sitting position and feed themselves.”
Weiszhaupt explained that the conductive education model is based on the idea that the nervous system can still form new neural connections, regardless of damage or disease.
CECO offers early intervention programs for children ages 0 to 5.
“We have little ones, 2 years old, who took their first steps here,” Weiszhaupt said. “We have little ones here who said ‘mom’ the first time, so so many amazing, amazing outcomes provided by that grant for the Orange County Citizen’s Commission.”
CECO’s youth program serves children from 5 to18 years old. Michelle Mongkolsmai and her family relocated to Central Florida so her 9-year-old son, Jack, could attend CECO. She said the progress he’s made since enrolling has been life-changing.
“You know that your child is safe. There’s no question. If anything were to come up, staff is going to tell you immediately,” she said. “You know that he’s not going to be stuck in his wheelchair all day like when he was in public school because he’s going to get out, he’s going to stretch, he’s going to do activities. We know that he has friends and he’s loved by every person who walks through the hallways of this building and that feels amazing. For parents with kids like ours, it’s a level of freedom that can be difficult to achieve. Just to be able to go home and watch TV and relax and rewind and unburden yourself from the task of daily caregiving which can be pretty intense. You don’t know until you live it.”
CECO also offers adult and flex programs.
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