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Disabled Students at Chadsgrove School and Specialist Sports College Take to the Dance Floor

Disabled Students at Chadsgrove School and Specialist Sports College Take to the Dance Floor

Chadsgrove School and Specialist Sports College, a Bromsgrove-based special educational needs (SEN) school, is offering students a series of sporting activities designed to engage and excite them. Working in conjunction with the North Worcestershire Schools Sport Partnership (NWSSP), Chadsgrove has joined forces with fitnessgaming (www.fitnessgaming.co.uk) to supply a range of specialist handheld dance units and dance mats with integral support frames to help every student take part regardless of their disability. fitnessgaming's dance mat technology is designed to encourage SEN students to undertake regular physical activity by providing a fun and inclusive outlet which allows them to participate with and compete against their able-bodied peers on a level playing field.

The Cobalt Flux HandDance Pro allows users with lower-body disabilities to participate in dance mat exercise programmes using their hands instead of their feet. These dance systems are ideal for individuals with disabilities such as Muscular Dystrophy MD as it fits comfortably on the user's lap and features the same control opportunities as the foot platform. It is important for young people who are losing mobility in their lower bodies to remain active and the HandDance Pro allows them to exercise their hands and arms. The Dancetown dance mat from fitnessgaming is fitted with a hand rail making it ideal for young people with physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy that make them uneasy on their feet.

Chadsgrove School has approximately 120 students with a range of physical and mental disabilities including genetic conditions, illnesses, manual and electric wheelchair users and muscular dystrophy (MD). The fitnessgaming dance units were first introduced over the 2010 summer and after a successful trial have been made available to teachers in all classes throughout the school.

Sarah Richards, Assistant Partnership Development Manager at North Worcestershire SSP, commented: "We first trialled the HandDance Pro over the summer with a group of Chadsgrove's teenage students and they absolutely loved it. The inclusive nature of the fitnessgaming dance units means that our SEN students are participating on a level playing field with their able bodied peers. The flexibility that is offered through the HandDance Pro means that our students are getting the physical, emotional and social benefits of sport without their disability being a factor."

Duncan Black, Director at fitnessgaming, commented: "Sport is a vital tool for helping children with physical disabilities learn to work together while building their self-esteem. Working with organisations such as the NWSSP is especially rewarding because their students have quickly embraced the systems. Offering young people a variety of sports to participate in is important to ensure they are getting a sufficient level of physical activity. Some children cannot relate to traditional sports for many different reasons but will jump at the chance to have a go on a dance mat. This type of activity is perfect for School Sport Partnerships because it crosses all ages and genders, there is no discrimination so all pupils can play against each other regardless of their abilities."

The NWSSP includes 29 schools from first through high school and includes SEN schools and a further education college within the Bromsgrove district. It is dedicated to improving the health and quality of life for young people by offering opportunities to take part in a series physical education and sporting activities. Its activity programme includes wheelchair basketball, seated volleyball and power chair football and a gifted & talented programme run in conjunction with the UK Paralympics programme.

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