Disability no barrier to dance

Joint Media Release with:

Julia Banks MP
Federal Member for Chisholm

A new initiative to give children with disability a chance to express themselves through dance has been awarded $627,000 under a federal NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) program.

The Hon Jane Prentice MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services said Deakin University has received the funding for AllPlay Dance, under the NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) National Readiness Grants program.

Mrs Prentice said AllPlay Dance gives people with disabilities, particularly children, the chance to access mainstream dance programs and build skills and self-esteem.

“All children love to dance and AllPlay Dance breaks down barriers to enable people with disabilities to have fun and connect to their community,” Mrs Prentice said.

The inspiration behind AllPlay Dance was Melbourne mother Tabitha, who struggled to find a dance school for her 10-year-old daughter Bianca who has Mowat-Wilson syndrome, a rare genetic disorder.

Tabitha said it was only through sheer perseverance that she found a dance school that would take Bianca on an ‘even ground’.

“With assistance from the NDIS, Bianca now attends dance class once a week and is absolutely thriving – it’s the highlight of her week,” Tabitha said.

Federal Member for Chisholm, Julia Banks MP, said the initiative would empower children to participate in dance programs.

“Deakin University’s AllPlay Dance group is an inclusive program which supports the wellbeing of young people in the Chisholm area with varied needs and abilities,” she said.

“I am delighted that through AllPlay Dance, Deakin University has received this funding.”

Deakin University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander welcomed the Federal Government’s support and said the ILC program was a perfect fit for AllPlay.

“AllPlay Dance will mean more children with a disability can join routine activities in their communities, while Deakin researchers can gather evidence to show why participation is important for all children, regardless of ability.”

A total of $14 million has been awarded to 39 organisations to make Australia more accessible and inclusive for people with disability as part of the ILC National Readiness Grants Program. For details go to the NDIS website.