Movement for wellbeing
Movement for Wellbeing is a unique offering that supports the physical, emotional, cognitive, social and personal development of adults and children of all abilities and needs through creative play, somatic movement, hands-on bodywork, informed touch practices, social haptic communication and embodiment exercises.
This program aims to empower participants with practical learning and experiential practice. It explains the science and neurophysiology behind wellbeing practices, offers a holistic perspective of how to nurture connection and communication and provides practical tools to support personal self-care and family wellbeing.
Movement for Wellbeing offers a creative, practical and informative embodied experience. We learn through movement, it is our first language and the most effective way to bring new awareness to our body.
Through the embodied practices of this program participants develop greater body awareness, coordination, improved balance, proprioceptive skill, kinaesthetic sensing of their environment and enhanced spatial awareness.
Through the learning and expression of the activities participants develop greater self-confidence, pride and resilience. This positively supports their relationships and extends their sense of their potential and ability.
Services, online and in-person, include:
- Community Workshops
- Tailored Programs for Organisations: for staff, clients, residents, day service users
- Training for Teachers, SEN teachers, SNAs, Social workers, Carers and Parents
- Bespoke Interactive Workshops for Parents, Organisations, Schools and Teams
- Creative Wellbeing Foundation Course
Workshops for adults include movement to:
- Support enjoyment and expression,
- Increase body-awareness, co-ordination and confidence
- Enhance kinaesthetic sensing, proprioception, and spatial awareness
- Improve strength, coordination, and stability,
- Acquire practical skills to better read our physical environment and support our social interactions,
- Extend means of relating and communicating through informed touch, and social haptic communication
- Provide a supportive outlet for self-expression and creativity,
- Encourages new friendships and social skills
- Improve physical and mental wellbeing
Workshops provide an environment that is safe and offers a sense of freedom and creative expression rarely found in day-to-day contexts.
Workshops for children and parents:
- Support learning through creative play and expression
- Enhance range of mobility, balance and coordination
- Nurture a child’s physical and cognitive development
- Teach new ways of relating communicating through sensation, touch, and social haptic models
- Provide new opportunities for exploration and learning through developmental movement patterns
- Relieve anxiety, muscular tension, and postural habits through guided somatic practice
- Empower parents with skills and confidence to support their child’s potential and their personal self-care
Core Practice details:
Self-care practices include tools for everyday, to regulate emotional stress, grounding, restore balance, find perspective and support resilience in the face of worry and challenge.
Kinaesthetic listening is a process of meeting the child where they are at rather than bringing our own objectives- it involves slowing down, breathing practice, mirroring.
Play through Touch has many elements that can be explored throughout the weeks- textures of touch, body stories, the body as an instrument, directional touch and other practices.
Language of touch will offer a resource for parents to customise to the vocabulary and interests of their child, assigning meaning to touch and movement. Overtime this can develop into a shorthand form of communication that offers the child additional information in any given situation (ie. what is the facial expression of the person who is communicating with you, what is the shape of the room you are in)
Creative Movement offers explorative play and dance through sound, stimulation, orientation, body contact and imagery.
Developmental movement is key to our cognitive, physical and emotional health especially in our formative years. As we age these movement patterns deteriorate and cause neuromuscular amnesia. Exploring key movement patterns enhances neurological health, resets the resting level of chronic /overactive muscles and expands our learning potential.
Somatic movement is a hands-on practice that will facilitate learning through touch, it is very gentle and is fully led by the child. We observe habits and patterns of movement and offer new ways of learning and moving through gentle support and directional touch.
Core values guide this program and support its optimal impact:
- We work from a whole-person perspective, seeing the expansive potential and possibility of an individual, unlimited by concept or diagnosis
- Trust, safety and self-awareness precedes any learning experience
- We prioritise the impulse, direction and interest of those we are supporting
- Active listening and kinaesthetic skill relieves any hierarchy of relationship (ie. leader and follower, support worker and client, parent and child) enabling for a shared experience of mutual learning and benefit
Movement for Wellbeing programs and workshops have been tailored to the needs and interests of individuals, residents, and staff of diverse organisations including:
Anne Sullivan Centre for the Deafblind,
Members of the National Council for the Blind in Dun Laoghaire, North Dublin and Limerick,
Cork Association for the Deaf,
To adults and children of Vision Sports Ireland,
Laura Lynn Hospice for Children,
St Joseph’s House for the Deaf,
St Michael’s House for children and adults with additional needs
St John of God’s Outreach Centre
Participant Quotes from post-workshop focus group discussion:
* “I thought dance was impossible, these workshops have made the impossible possible”
* “Now I understand that listening is not just with your ears but your whole body”
* “I can feel the world through my feet”
* “I deepened my understanding of touch as a form of communication”
* “I experienced a universal language”
* “We are all equal here”
* “I learnt concrete tools for communicating in a new way”
* “It has broadened my horizons”
* “..Allowed me to express myself and be more self-confident”
* “..Expanded my comfort zone”
* “It challenged my assumptions”
* “ It broke down psychological barriers”
A vast background of professional training and experience informs the methodology behind the Movement for Wellbeing approach, this includes-
- Extensive training and work as a professional dancer in multiple dance disciplines
- Yoga Teacher with a therapeutic approach, Healing Yoga (established in 2010) tailors to people of all needs, abilities and experience
- Study and work as a holistic practitioner integrating Reiki, Tension and Trauma relief, Life Coaching, Clinical Somatic Movement and Family Constellation Work
- Community artist working in arts and health supported by Create Ireland, Arts Council of Ireland, South Dublin County Council, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Dublin Bus Community Spirit Award and the Social Entrepreneurs Academy
- Founding of the Running Blind Dance Project in 2015 to research and develop accessible dance practices for people who are blind, deafblind and with low-vision as well as inclusive dance performance
- Development of this program has been informed by collaborative practice and focus groups stemming from workshops in Rua Red in 2017, Dance Theatre of Ireland in 2018, and Rhythm Club in 2019.
- Mentorship, inspiration and resilience in the development of this body of work has been supported by international artist and advocate for the deaf- Amanda Coogan, innovators in deafblind studies- Riitta Lahtinhen (Deafblind researcher) and Russ Palmer (Deafblind musician) who developed social haptic communication, and international dancer and theatre director, Tom Pritchard.
- Integrated workshops to date have been attended by participants who are blind, low vision, deafblind, deaf, wheelchair users, guide-dog users, people who are at the initial stages of sight-loss and those with full vision.
- People from all backgrounds have attended workshops including, the elderly, parents with babies, medical doctors, social workers, therapists, artists, musicians, guide dog users with their dogs, and members of the community.
- About Laura