Frequently Asked Questions
What makes your class different from other special needs dance classes?
- There is no special or required dance attire for class, just the fact they are dressed is a win for most families.
- Shoe policies are determined by the studio I rent. At Orange County Children's Therapeutic Arts Center (OCCTAC) they can wear street shoes, socks, or dance in bare feet. (I recommend 100% cotton socks because they are less likely to slip.
- The student has just one job, to copy me. Over time, they will learn the routines and dance with others.
- Class is structured play and social skills practice, as well.
- And students are not removed from the class for behavior issues.
What if my son/daughter, student won't look at you or copy you?
- It's not an immediate expectation.
- I do not demand eye contact when I'm speaking. I allow them to look at me on their own, and if I ask them to look at me it's just for a quick "high-five."
- Students are allowed to be themselves, if that means singing, dancing on their own, or sitting down to watch it's all acceptable.
- Students are in a dance class with a mirror and music playing, other students, new adults, and no hand over hand manipulation. I'm asking a lot of them.
What are your goals for the students?
- If the student comes to class with clothes on, it's a win for me and you.
- If the student can stay in the room the first class, it's a win.
- If not right away, over time they will look at me and copy what I do and
- Look in the mirror and use it as a tool;
- Learn to tolerate the music;
- Learn to participate and lead in the social exercises we do in a circle;
- Learn to play or dance with a partner;
- If unable to talk, start the process of speech;
- Additionally, the students with the most experience in the class will learn to help direct, lead, and assist in class.
What if my student has aggressive or violent behaviors and I am concerned for the teacher's safety as well as the other students in class?
- Disclose your concerns.
- We can start private lessons with the goal of moving your student into a group class.
- Fortunately, I have training in self-defense and I can stop the attack/behavior from getting out of control.
- I will teach calming techniques for the student to use when I see the frustration build up before the aggressive behavior starts.
- If you are concerned that the aggression is too much for me, I will consult with other self-defense instructors to come up with a plan for your student.
Why do you work with these students?
- First, I believe dance is an important cultural activity, dance allows an expression of emotion that cannot be duplicated in any other art form. As in all arts, dance is inclusive - or should be inclusive.
- Second, I can't change the world to make everyone feel safe. But, I can create a safe environment in my dance class. Everyone needs a place to feel safe, a teacher who is only supportive, a place where they don't have to worry about getting in trouble and being removed from something they enjoy.
- Third, I don't believe removing a child for unwanted behavior solves the problem. I believe a student can learn to calm him or herself and that students need to know someone in this world will NOT allow aggression. But, the same someone recognizes a student needs to learn how to calm down in the middle of the aggression, meltdown, crisis. If you are upset and someone teaches you how to calm down, your body and the deepest part of the brain will remember that for future use.
How can I sign up for a class?
- In Santa Ana you can call OCCTAC, ask if your student can have an Intake or just try my class on Thursdays at 4:30 pm or 5:00 pm. If your student enjoys the class, then you can enroll them at the OCCTAC desk.
- If you homeschool your child through Inspire Charter Schools, you can ask for an Enrichment Certificate Number and you can join a group or if there are at least 5 other students available, we can put a group together in your area. I will look for space to rent to teach a six week session.
- I teach classes on my own but I need at least 5 students to open a class. I rent space in Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, or when the studio isn't busy.
- If you are too far from these areas and you have a group of students interested, please let me know so I can find a dance studio to rent at the most convenient time for you. Or, if you know of a studio in your area that I can rent, please let me know.
- I am also available for private or semi-private sessions at a studio or at your home.
- And if you and your fellow parents want more information, I'm available to explain what A Dance Class For Me! inclusive classes are all about at your school or organization. Students can either join an existing class or get a group together for classes in your area.