Here are some simple tips for dance teachers to ensure that children who have challenges with their thinking skills or intellectual disability can participate in dance.
Start with simple movement activities. Focus on one part of the body at a time before proceeding to movement combinations. Slow the movement down and repeat as many times as is necessary.
Reinforce the dance actions through clear verbal instructions. Single words linked to each step can help kids remember a simple movement sequence: For example ‘”stamp, clap, kick”.
Shorten the movement tasks. Some kids might not be able to focus for a long time on one activity. Short and specific movement tasks can work better than long ones. Structure the class in short, interesting, and contrasting activities. Movement games can be alternated between dance exercises.
Be supportive of each child’s effort. Encourage their participation with praise and positive feedback.
Remember, every child has the right to be involved in all aspects of life, especially dance. Including children with disabilities is not hard; it just requires understanding. You can make the world fit for all kids by including all kids in dance