Susie Mallett

Parent blog

Saturday 11 August 2012

Getting started needed a little help

A page from my carboot-sale copy of Max and Moritz by Wilhelm Busch

The day turned up a little

All that was needed was the abracadabra of conductive upbringing – time + patience + intelligent love.

Some people say that these are the magic ingredients and but I say that they are all part of the hard work and the pedagogy.

There was a lot of hard work today. There was also intelligent love and patience and they all, eventually, led us to cracking it this afternoon. We had had a slow, tentative and testing start to our two weeks of conductive work within the family home.

There was a magic ingredient

For some unknown reason I decided that, instead of insisting on learning, learning, learning, we would spend the afternoon session reading. Laddo was in agreement and turned up with a huge volume of a book by Wilhelm Busch. Because of its size the text is just big enough for Laddo to be able to read it. So, with a combination of Laddo’s elephant-like memory that is filled with snippets remembered from watching childhood videos a hundred times, and motivation, because Max and Moritz, as well as being extremely naughty are also very funny, we were on to a winner.


To top it all, the entire book is full of lovely pictures. So all-in-all I can honestly say that we saved the day with Max and Moritz, and with the special ingredients of conductive upbringing – time, patience and intelligent love.

Comprehension, speech and rhyming verse

The fact that the Max and Moritz stories are written in rhyme made it easier for Laddo in several ways. He could understand his own speech better. If he got one of the rhyming words then he was more likely to understand the second. Working out the words was made much easier by the rhymes for this athetoid young man who usually has great difficulty in understanding his own voice when he reads aloud.

It made no difference to him at all that some words were written in slang, had a slightly different spelling or were shortened to fit in with the meter or the rhyme. This book is sort of written like Laddo speaks, so it was a perfect choice. We had happened upon it by accident but it is now out on the desk for a daily session of fun.

The first and last time that I read Max and Moritz was in 1994, with my friend’s son, who was nine years old at the time. I could hardly speak a word of German but I could understand these stories because of the lovely illustrations. Max and Moritz did the trick in those days too, allowing that child and me to develop a great relationship that continues today. Now we speak either in English or German or indeed a mish-mash of both, but we know that we could converse just as well if the common language were humour and a few illustrations.

Back in sync

Max and Moritz brought the equilibrium back today to what had proven to be a very hard start. It had been tough getting stuck into the nitty-gritty of conductive living but having a laugh and enjoying the fun of words brought us into sync again.

My old battered copy of Max and Moritz

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