Music and dance as learning interventions for children with intellectual disabilities
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Amongst the many disadvantaged groups of people in the world, an important minority are children with intellectual disabilities. Relative to their counterparts without intellectual disabilities, children with intellectual disabilities face a wide spectrum of challenges, including learning difficulties, social segregation and negative stereotyping. Children with intellectual disabilities find it difficult to perform various functions such as communicating and socialising with others, and, in many situations, even looking after themselves. They are extremely vulnerable to depression, poor self-image and a lack of self-confidence. The pace at which they learn and grasp things is much slower than that of children without intellectual disabilities. Appropriate interventions are therefore required for them to function at an acceptable level in school. Various interventions have been identified to assist such children cope with their learning challenges. Amongst these interventions is the integration of music and dance into formal lessons in order to facilitate their learning. The purpose of this study was to examine the contribution made by music and dance to improving learning in the classroom amongst children with intellectual disabilities. Following a qualitative approach, three focus group interviews were conducted using purposive samples of educators. Interpretative phenomenological analysis procedures were used to analyse the data. The following key themes emerged through the process: confidence in communicating, group work, knowledge, concentration and behaviour. The study found that dance and music are positive mediums that contribute significantly to the learning experience of children with intellectual disabilities.
- NWU Official