What is mobility?

Mobility describes the way a person moves or gets around. A child with mobility challenges may use mobility aids such as crutches, ankle or leg supports, a walking frame, or a wheelchair.

Some kids may have a physical disability that impacts their mobility, such as kids with spinal cord injury who use a wheelchair. Some kids may have developmental or neurological disorders, such as cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury (e.g. following a stroke), or spina bifida, which can affect their mobility.

What might be some challenges in the dance class?

Kids may move in different ways and use aids (e.g. crutches, frames, wheelchairs) to help them move in the dance studio.

Consider the environment

  • Consider the surface for kids who use mobility aids (e.g., crutches, walking frames, wheelchairs): A ramp maybe required for studio access. Also check the surface of the floor with the child to determine whether the surface isn’t too slippery and/or sticky for them to more around safely with their mobility aid.  You could even talk to your local council and venue owner about making the dance studio more accessible.

Consider the activity

  • Be flexible in goal-setting: For example, goals for the dance class may focus on a student developing personal movement exploration rather than on whether they achieve physical technical perfection.
  • Adapt activities: A sitting ballerina can perform the same or similar movements as their standing ballet peers while sitting in a wheelchair or on a furniture cube.
  • Allow students to use technology or assistive devices: Encourage students to use technology that best supports the goals of dance and best fits their bodily needs.
  • Use props in class: Using props can encourage spontaneous movement and take the pressure of learning physically difficult actions. Objects such as coloured scarves, soft balls, balloons and textured fabric can be used to enhance the child’s enjoyment.
  • Let parents or siblings help: Parents and siblings know their child best. Let parents or siblings take part in the class and dance with their child. For example, parents might move alongside their child, supporting their balance or posture as required.
  • For kids who use wheelchairs, encourage them to use less strapping or move out of their wheelchair if appropriate and support is provided. Consider floor or mat work when the kids are supported as appropriate.

Consider your communication style

  • Make eye contact at the kids level: Think about how to have good eye contact for kids who may sit at a lower height such as in a wheelchair. You could kneel down or sit on a bench.

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