In this interview I am asking Kelly Morris, the program director of Brighter Beginnings through Conductive Education, a newly launched school for children with Cerebral Palsy. Kelly is one of the most resolute mothers who started her own fight against Cerebral Palsy in a small town called Maryswille, Ohio in the USA.
How did you become involved with Conductive Education?
I have a child with Cerebral Palsy. She required more services than her school could give her. We researched our options and found Conductive Education. The only place at the time we started was in Canada so we started going there for CE.
How did the idea of founding such a school come up?
We were traveling to different areas far away from home to receive CE for our daughter. We did this only through the summer because we had to have her (and her sister) in school during the school year. She would develop with CE through the summer and loose the learned abilities when she went back to school from not being active enough all day. We had a choice to stop the CE or open a center close to home so that she could have access to CE all of the time. We chose to open the CE center.
How is it going? How many students do you have?
It has been a challenge. We are very happy with our Conductors, but it is hard to find students. We believe it will take two years to have a full student base, but right now we have 5 repeating students, 2 students that we don’t believe will return and 3 evaluations scheduled for next week. Most students will only be participating in the summer camps.
How complicated was it to launch the school as a parent?
The difficult part was preparing the paperwork to become a non-profit organization and understanding the visa application process for our Conductors. Also, funding is a huge challenge. As a parent, it wasn’t difficult at all. I understand the CE concept and to be honest, if I weren’t a parent then I would have given up when I realized how much paperwork was involved.
You launched the school only a few months ago and you already have 2 conductors. What are your plans for the next few years?
Our plans are to continue to grow and help as many children as possible in our area. We realized that having one Conductor could work, but having 2 Conductors was necessary to provide a proper program. Having 2 Conductors will ensure that the program runs more smoothly with less complication. Because CE is not well known in our area, it is difficult to train classroom aides to act as the Conductors do. In the future, if we hire classroom aides, it will be easier for the Conductors to train them as a team. We are hoping that as we grow, we will build a facility, hire more Conductors and continue to offer services according to traditional Conductive Education. We hope to help many children and many families to see what the children with disabilities are capable of.
I am very thankful to Kelly for the frank answers. I hope she will reach her goals and will manage the school successfully for a very long time.