Team Leaders in Day Support have been trying out new, adaptable ways of increasing participant engagement in our recreational and educational programs.

People living with disabilities have varying communication and information-processing needs, so our Disability Support Workers and Disability Educators implement flexible learning strategies to reach the many different participants at OC Connections.

Disability Educators Veta and Jess have revamped a program called “Music Around the World”. They noticed that participants would often move in and out of their programs due to restlessness. Many participants struggle to engage for long periods of time in one room, so Veta and Jess developed a strategy that would actively involve participants and their decision-making processes.

“Music Around the World” starts with meditation, allowing participants to ground themselves in the moment and feel secure in their environment. During the session, Veta asks participants to pick a country from the basket of options and read it aloud. Music from that country is played for the group, accompanied by a fact about the nation’s culture.

Each round is a different kind of dance, including chair dancing, dancing like animals, and group dancing in a conga line. 

The varying options and dances keep participants active during the sessions. Veta moves around the room, teaching participants the dances and encouraging them to copy her.

Every participant is encouraged to dance in a way that suits their physical needs. The program’s flexibility allows for a more goal-oriented approach towards meeting participants’ specific needs with one:one professional support.

It’s a collaborative effort to maintain the focus and interest of all participants, and the social aspects of the program allow participants to support each other and be creative in communication.

OC Connections works using a Co-Achieve model; we actively listen to participants and work alongside them to create strategies to reach their goals.

Independence is at the forefront of choosing and achieving personal goals, and educational programs that are adaptable and flexible in their delivery help disability workers to keep participants engaged in services.

Adaptive teaching is vital for people living with disabilities – everyone is different, so it can take time to understand the learning and communication styles of each participant to ensure no one is left behind.

This is only one example of adaptive teaching within OC Connections! We’re excited to share more stories and ideas from our creative and skill-based classes over the next few months.