Families take steps to inclusion

25 May 2018

Knowing their pirouettes from their pliƩ was (kind of) the order of the day for children we support and their families as they took part in an exciting dance session last month.

Celebrating what children can do is the basis for dance sessions created by the Flamingo Chicks CIC, who came to TouchBase Glasgow and delivered four accessible and inclusive dance workshops for all ages and all abilities. Story-telling, music and sensory props were just some of the methods and resources used to introduce familes to dance.

Smiling boys

Participants aged between three and 60 enjoyed activities aimed at families, which gave them the opportunity to participate together, something that many others take for granted.

Flamingo Chicks aim to give disabled and ill children the same range of opportunities, and a culture of integrated social and well-being activity, where everyone works together as equals. Their classes include those undergoing treatment for cancer, children who are visually impaired, those with autism, cerebral palsy, Down's Syndrome or other needs.

Boy waving scarf

While the children explore movement their parents and carers benefit from a vital support network.

Sense Scotland's Family Advisory worker April Walker said: "Children, young people and adults living with disabilities don't often get the chance to participate in dance sessions. As well as offering a new and fun experience everyone was encouraged to be sociable with one another.

"Having fully integrated sessions also enables families to participate in something together. Often activities are divided by ability, so it was great for everyone to take part.

"It was social, fun and enjoyable and everyone wanted to come back and do it again."

On the day 29 children with physical and learning disabilities, sensory impairments and complex communication needs, and aged between two and 15 took part in the sessions.

One parent said: "I really loved the class. It was friendly and engaging."

One five-year-old said simply: "We loved it."

As well as being great fun the session helped children with physical wellbeing like body awareness, muscle strength and balance, with participants trying out ballet moves for the first time.