A great way to teach children with communication challenges or developmental delays, is to make use of different learning styles, which can include: visual, auditory and kinesthetic/physical.
Visual learners may respond best through seeing and reading. So the writing of a focal step on a board, showing a video or image, or even making use of reflections in a mirror can help them learn.
For example, the positions of the feet. You can get creative with these, but our example is that first position could be a smiley-face; second position could be two feet on either side of a river; third and fifth position, a zig zag sewing stitch; and fourth position, a highway with traffic running in opposite directions, always separated by a nature-strip.
Auditory learners may best respond to teaching through listening and speaking. So using voice, music – already used strongly in dance, and other sounds.
Kinesthetic learners may be enhanced by doing the physical movement and touch. Sometimes your students may respond best to a teacher or partner physically guiding their bodies through positions, or through the physicality of acting out a movement rather than through discussion. Muscle memory of movement is important to these children.
Furthermore, teachers and students can create songs for the different positions. Here we have made an ‘arm position’ song as an example, which makes use of visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles through visual imagination of certain objects and the action of movement with singing to song. This song attempts to link concepts the children already understand with the new concepts that need to be taught – which can be helpful to learning.
one: bowl, two: big hug, three: J and J, four: clock and crossed, five: sun up high
The associations can be endless, your students will have some great ideas too!
Remember, help make the world fit for all kids by making dance inclusive