New national Deakin program helps kids with disabilities on the dancefloor

Deakin University has launched Australia’s first comprehensive digital resource to promote inclusion in dance for children with developmental challenges, as well as a directory of inclusive dance schools.

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New national Deakin program helps kids with disabilities on the dancefloor

Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander AO last night launched AllPlay Dance, an initiative of Deakin’s Child Study Centre within the School of Psychology, with a special masterclass from Queensland Ballet Artistic Director Li Cunxin at the University’s Burwood campus.

AllPlay Dance includes a suite of online resources to help children, their parents and dance teachers ensure dance schools are an inclusive space for kids of all abilities.

The initiative was funded by a $600,000 grant from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) through its Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) grant program, which aims to make the broader community more inclusive for people with disabilities.

“Deakin is committed to supporting the communities it serves, which is what AllPlay Dance is focused on. Programs like AllPlay Dance perfectly demonstrate how quality research can lead to real-world outcomes that can change lives

“We know that ongoing physical activity has lasting physical and social health benefits for us all. AllPlay Dance will mean more children with a disability can participate in regular activities in their local communities, while Deakin researchers will be able to gather more evidence to show why group participation in physical activity is important for the development of all children."Deakin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander AO

At the launch, attendees were treated to a performance from eight young dancers with cerebral palsy, alongside their young teaching buddies. The group then took part in a masterclass with Mr Li.

“Queensland Ballet is thrilled to collaborate with Deakin University on such a life-changing and impactful program.

“We firmly believe in the power ballet has to create positive change, provide opportunity and bring people together. Our involvement in programs such as this furthers our aim to share the gift of ballet with as many people as possible.

“We look forward to seeing the joy this program will bring to many children with disabilities and their families.” -Queensland Ballet Artistic Director Li Cunxin

AllPlay Dance is an expansion of the ground-breaking AllPlay program, a national project to make the world fit for all kids. It was launched last year with AllPlay Footy, a collaboration with the AFL and Moose Toys to help encourage more kids with disabilities to join their local NAB AFL Auskick program.

Australian dance schools can register to the AllPlay Dance web directory of inclusive studios, allowing parents to find schools offering programs that can be tailored for children with developmental disabilities such as cerebral palsy or autism. For more information about AllPlay Dance, visit www.allplaydance.org.au

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