What are the benefits of dance for SEND children
For everyone, dance is a fantastic exercise that can provide significant physical advantages:
- Improved condition of the heart and lungs.
- Increased muscular strength, endurance and aerobic fitness.
- Better coordination.
- Better agility.
- Better flexibility.
- Healthy blood pressure.
- Improved overall balance.
- Improved spatial awareness.
For children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), there are additional advantages that can help to ameliorate their disability.
Physical benefits of dance for SEND children
Through dancing, SEND children learn about body coordination and control. Dance is a fun way to practise balance skills, good posture, and build awareness of the body in space. Meanwhile, developing rhythm helps with improved motor control: both gross and fine motor skills develop when SEND children attend dance classes. These skills are translated into the movement patterns required for daily activities.
Many young people with a learning disability find it difficult to understand what they are doing now and what they are doing next. A well-structured dance curriculum will support a child in developing understanding of sequencing through choreography.
It’s a fact that SEND children are at a higher risk of being obese. Dance provides an aerobic activity for them supporting weight control and cardiovascular health.
Often exercise will have beneficial effects outside the dance class: improving children’s academic learning ability for example. Learning dance sequences can also help those with dyspraxia (a motor learning disability that impairs the organisation of movement skills).
Children with physical disabilities can regain or increase muscle strength and balance while mastering milestones such as bending the knees while walking and hand–eye coordination.
Mental benefits of dance for SEND children
Dance provides a unique non-verbal expression of feelings that is universally understood. It provides a channel for SEND children who have difficulty with their communication. When children explore expression through dance, they can convert their feelings and thoughts through physical movement, thus removing the limitations that they may feel in their spoken speech. Children can become ‘unlocked’ and express themselves more freely.
Dance is vital in tackling the social isolation, loneliness and frustration that many in the disabled community feel. It can affirm individuality and a sense of self. According to research from the Institute for Voluntary Action Research, 88 per cent of disabled young people participating in dance classes feel better able to express themselves while 75 per cent feel more physically fit.
Dance allows students with special needs to be actively involved in their learning. This independence boosts their self-esteem and can release endorphins in the brain. Participants are able to bond with other students in a common goal, which may promote better interpersonal skills. Through group work, both the confidence and social skills of SEND children come along in leaps and bounds.
Finally, dance can promote a state of euphoria that lasts long after the music stops: students can effectively leave their cares behind on the dance floor and forget the things that might hold them back.
How Synergy can help
We support the SEND community with dance, fitness and yoga classes for children and adults.
We provide inclusive opportunities for having fun and keeping fit where neither finance, fitness, ability, disability or family circumstance stand as barriers to participation.
Synergy Dance® Outreach aims to promote lifelong participation in dance and fitness and to reach all levels of fitness, ability and background – through our work in schools, leisure centres, outreach programmes and funded charity work for under-represented or inactive groups. Our exciting sessions may take place standing or seated for those in wheelchairs.
See our range of classes here.
To find our more about our charity, and what we offer go here.