AllPlay Dance: Making our dance schools inclusive

Ben Tudhope
Ben Tudhope, Australia’s youngest winter Paralympian
July 16, 2018
AllPlay at the National Sports Convention
August 1, 2018

Asher is eight. He loves Michael Jackson and knows every dance move to ‘Beat it’ right down to a tee. Why can’t he find a dance school?

Kids with different developmental abilities such as autism and ADHD may be anxious in typical dance classes, where the rules and expectations may not be suitable for everyone. “Asher spent seven out of ten classes hiding under the table,” said Vivianne, Asher’s mum. “Sometimes he would get upset and want to do a different song from what they were teaching.”

AllPlay Dance brings a new era of inclusion to dance schools in Australia – and potentially the world – with its suite of evidence-based resources on how to be more inclusive. “I think it would be really beneficial to lots of families if dance schools and dance teachers knew how to include kids with different abilities,” said Astrid, mum to Ethan who has Down’s syndrome. “If we could teach the teachers to include all abilities into the one group, it would make all the difference to us.”

How to use the AllPlay Dance resources

Following the success of AllPlay Footy, which has opened up the footy community to kids of all abilities, AllPlay Dance offers a digital resource catered specifically for the dance community.
Parents can jump on to find an inclusive dance school for their children using the searchable dance directory. Dance teachers and schools can learn evidence-based tips on how to be inclusive. Healthcare practitioners can access printable handouts to share with their clients.

The dance teacher resources are based on up-to-date research and findings from the AllPlay Dance surveys completed this year. Dance teachers can learn a variety of inclusion techniques such as how to adapt their teaching style, modify activities and the environment and use equipment to engage all children in dance classes.

“We want to translate what we’ve learnt in the academic and clinical field to dance schools,” said Professor Nicole Rinehart, director of AllPlay. “By sharing knowledge with dance teachers and learning from them as well, we can help create a truly inclusive environment for all children.”

To see the brand new AllPlay Dance website, visit allplaydance.org.au