Shaun: “Here are some simple tips for dance teachers to ensure that children with physical disabilities who might use mobility aids like wheelchairs, crutches or walkers, can join a dance class”.
Olivia: “Think about how to communicate with kids who may sit at a lower height. Make sure you have good eye contact with all kids, including kids who use a wheelchair. Kneel down or sit on a bench when you speak with them”.
Shaun: “Modify and adapt the dance movements. If a child finds standing difficult, modify the dance exercises so they can be performed seated on a chair or furniture cube. Seated movements can focus on the head, torso, arms and hands”.
Olivia: “Find out how each child moves best. Adapt travelling movements such as skipping and jumping to accommodate a range of locomotor styles such as gliding in a wheelchair. Explorations of floor-based actions such as rolling can also be included”.
Shaun: “If you’re not sure how to modify a dance movement for a child, ask the child for the best way for him/her to be successful. All children have their own unique strengths and abilities. Focus on what they can do, not what they can’t”.
Olivia: “Parents and siblings know the child best. Let them participate alongside the child in the class, assisting when needed”.
Shaun: “Change the activity, not the child. If a child is struggling with a dance movement don’t attribute the problem to the child, instead attribute it to the strategy. For example, “You seem to have difficulty doing this movement. Let’s try it a different way, just using our arms”.
Olivia: “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