I arrived at the Hampton Sports Centre, based at the Hampton Community College, and met Rachel. She graduated from Leed uni last year and is now working for Combination Dance which is based at Whitton Sports College. She has assissted with taster classes for disabled children, but has never run or taught any classes for disabled children prior to this project.
We began the session by sitting in a circle to get to know everyone; there were five children, three mothers, and a sister who came to the class. We rolled a ball along the floor, calling out the name of the person who we wanted to recieve the ball. Each child had very different needs, some just needed to be told to focus, while others required one to one attention. We then stood up, and went round and said our names whilst doing a big movement with our bodies, some of the children used sign language to say their names.
We played a lot of games, recognising the meaning of colours- eg traffic lights; red meaning stop, and green meaning go. And we learnt the macarena for the dancing part, trying to coordinate our different body parts.
I did not know what to expect from the class, and i have never worked with a group made up entirely of children with learning disabilities. I was never phased by the children and was in fact very excited about doing this work. It has helped me to confirm that i do want to go into this line of work.
It felt so good to be able to work with these children, to give them this opportunity, and to allow them to have fun whilst learn. Many people, including Rachel said that this type of work can be so exhausting; and that she had spent the whole day planning for the session. But i didnt want it to end, i felt that after anhour we were just getting started, and i could have easily done another hour. I enjoyed every moment of it, being a child again, running about freely, and not being judged by anyone.
I did not find out the extent of disabiltiy that each child had until we finished the sessionl; i dont know whether i would have reacted differently in the class if i already knew this information.
I found that we had one child with downs syndrome, three with austism and communication difficulties, and onw with prader-willi syndrome.
I am so happy to have rung up about the advertisement, i cannot wait to go back next time!!!!