Creating an Accessible Dance Space

In light of the growing demand for inclusive practice and policies, here are some of our top tips to create an accessible dance space.

  • Physical disabilities support

  • Learning and sensory support

  • Risk assessment

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Learners with physical disabilities may require:

  • Walking aids (e.g. wheelchair).
  • Step-free access to general areas, especially to enter the building and the dancing space.
  • Level-free, accessible parking space. Ideally blue badge spaces should be available.
  • Support when arriving to show where the facilities, dance space, etc are. Accessible signage and people to meet and greet are recommended.
  • Wide enough door frames to enter the building as wheelchairs come in various sizes. (Note there are statutory requirements for buildings).
  • Accessible toilet facilities (e.g. a toilet bay with a hoist) and/or changing area. (Teachers need to find out who can provide toileting support).
  • A dance space large enough for everyone to move around safely, especially if there are children using wheelchairs.

Learners with varying learning and sensory needs may require:

  • A distraction-free space to help them remain focused on the task at hand, e.g. no brightly coloured posters or mirrors, or external noise from building works etc.
  • An uncluttered space, e.g. no toys or equipment that could be climbed over or under.
  • A well-lit space that is not too bright/dark and without flickering lights. Note it is important to think about where you position yourself in the room in consideration of light and windows, particularly for visually impaired/deaf children and young people.
  • An induction loop for those children and young people who use hearing aids; as acoustics and echoes can also cause distress if the child experiences sensitive hearing.
  • A breakout space where they can enter a quiet and calm space away from the dance activity.
  • An area for the children and young people to have lunch/snacks (or a café on-site).
  • An introduction to the dance class, people involved in teaching/leading/supporting, and an outline of what they will be doing. This can be very helpful for some children and young people to prevent anxiety, as can be photographs of the entrance to the building, route to the room, the room itself, visual timetables and social stories.

Risk assessment best practice

We always advise to conduct a clear risk assessment of potential hazards and have provided guidance and a risk assessment template in our Professional Standards Scheme handbook.

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Continue to: Communication needs in inclusive dance practice

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