Movement is the foundation for learning, and this is the MOVE programme’s philosophy. Through an activity-based approach the programme combines education, therapy and family knowledge to teach the child new skills.

In this article you can read about the following:

  • What is the MOVE Programme?
  • Movement is the Foundation for Learning
  • How did the MOVE Programme come about?
  • How can Assistive Technology help with MOVE goals?
  • Oaklands School’s experience with the assistive movement device Innowalk Pro

What is the MOVE Programme?

The MOVE Programme is an activity-based practice that enables young people with disability to gain independent movement. It uses the combined approach of education, therapy and family knowledge to teach the skills of sitting, standing, walking and transitioning between.

The aim of the MOVE Programme is to offer these movement opportunities to people with disability, opening up and transforming the world around them and creating an accessible, interesting and educational world full of opportunities and choices.

Movement is the Foundation for Learning

In early development, children learn about their environment and gain skills to navigate the world by moving, exploring, and practicing repeatedly. A child with disability who uses assistive equipment and relies on others for much of their movement is generally provided fewer opportunities to independently move and learn. The MOVE Programme ensures that young people with disability are provided these vital opportunities to develop their mobility and independence.

Move-Program

How did the MOVE Programme come about?

The MOVE Programme began almost 40 years ago in the 1980s. It was created by Dr Linda Bidabe, a SEN teacher in California, USA. Linda was part of a growing realisation that to a profound extent children with disability were not learning the vital mobility skills that they needed to access education and prepare for their adult lives.

MOVE logo

In response to this, she developed a mobility programme designed to include motivating and functional movement practises at every opportunity. The concept spread rapidly to other schools and in 1991 the first official MOVE Programme was written. Based in the UK, MOVE Europe currently supports over 140 special schools and therapy teams to deliver the MOVE Programme to over 1,100 disabled children across the UK.

How can Assistive Technology help with MOVE goals?

At Oaklands School in Edinburgh they have great experience combining assistive technology and the MOVE program, especially for pupils with more complex needs. We chatted to Anke Bailie, a children’s physiotherapist with nearly 40 years’ experience, primarily in Special Schools. Following her retirement, she currently works as a MOVE Coordinator at Oaklands School in Edinburgh.

Oaklands School’s experience with the assistive movement device Innowalk Pro

- We trialled the Innowalk Pro at Oaklands for 4 weeks in the winter of 2017. We soon realised that a lot of our more complex pupils could benefit hugely from the movement that is provided by the Innowalk Pro. Following our trial period, the school began a huge fundraising mission, and in 2018 we were able to purchase both sizes of the Innowalk Pro for the pupils to use as an adjunct to their therapy sessions.

What do you find are the benefits of using Innowalk Pro for the pupils?

- The Innowalk Pro allows the pupils to experience movement of their lower limbs, in a gentle way. It is great for their range of movement, respiration, digestion, their general wellbeing. We found it particularly useful for some of our complex pupils that we never even dreamed of being able to get into the device! Oaklands have used it very successfully with pupils who have undergone orthopaedic surgery, pupils who are unable to use walking frames, and also with pupils who are not able to maintain good head control in their static standing frames.

How is Innowalk Pro accessed in school?

- The Innowalk Pro have detachable transport wheels, which make it easy to move between classrooms. We originally thought that keeping the Innowalk Pro in a dedicated space would be best, with the pupils coming out of class to use them, however it is much more practical, and more inclusive, for the pupils to use the Innowalk Pro in the classroom along with their peers and staff. Classroom support staff are trained and know how to operate the machines, with therapy staff reviewing on a termly basis.

How can using Innowalk Pro help pupils with their independent MOVE goals?

- The Innowalk Pro can support the development of several (lower level) MOVE skills relating to: maintaining a sitting position, movement while sitting, standing, and walking forward. I also believe that some of the additional benefits of using Innowalk Pro will be beneficial for the pupils when working towards other goals. The general health benefits – cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and psychological, can help to create a great foundation for the pupils to focus on their MOVE work. As mentioned earlier, we witnessed some great post-operative rehabilitation using the Innowalk Pro, with one pupil in particular, which then enabled him to regain his skills quicker.

In addition, Innowalk Pro is an inclusive, fun and motivating activity for pupils, and by staying active outside of their therapy time, they will likely maintain their MOVE skills.

Read more: Leon Regained the Joy of Movement with the Innowalk Pro

Physical activity has many positive effects

Jen Ferguson

Jen Ferguson

Jen Ferguson has a clinical background as a paediatric physiotherapist, working for the NHS in the North East of England before joining the Made for Movement team. As Territory Manager, she thrives on sharing her knowledge and experience with therapists, families and individuals with disabilities. Jen feels very passionate that exercise and physical activity should be accessible for everyone, and loves seeing first-hand the enjoyment that movement brings to so many people she meets in her role.