Empowering Steps Movement Therapy (MT) is a motor intervention based on a 10 stage motor scale. Each child is first assessed on their current motor skills and placed in a stage in our curriculum which matches their current motor skill level. As the child progresses through the stages, the motor skills become more complex and require a great deal of focus, coordination, balance and strength. Empowering Steps MT sessions are generally one-to-one, ranging from 30 to 60 minutes in duration and may be up to three times each week, depending on the needs of each participant. Each child is assigned one therapist who works with them at the same time every week from September to June. This program is most beneficial for children with motor deficits, low muscle tone, or poor muscular coordination (ie. children living with cerebral palsy, down syndrome, delayed coordination disorder, muscular dystrophy, etc.).
The Empowering Steps MT gym program takes place in an inclusive gymnastics setting; this allows the utilization of different apparatuses to improve both gross and fine motor control. Our 1:1 program makes use of all the equipment in our facilities such as balance beam, trampoline, trapeze and bars to teach fundamental motor skill that progress from non-ambulatory transitional movements to complex motor planning and sequencing skills. Emphasis is placed on functional improvement and physical literacy rather than skill development.
The Empowering Steps MT aqua program is a 1:1 therapy currently consisting of 10 Stages of progression. Each Stage focuses on developing 4 main components: an understanding of general water safety and pool rules, stroke development, movement therapy based skills, and physical conditioning. Similar to the Empowering Steps MT gym program, the aqua program develops foundational elements including balance and coordination, range of motion, strength and posture. As an added benefit, the warm water relaxes the myscles, reducing spasticity in children with Cerebral Palsy, while providing a variable resistance to build strength, endurance, and lung capacity in a fun, safe, and playful environment.
Empowering Steps MT Intensives may be offered during school holidays such as spring, and summer breaks. The longer duration of the intensives allows for a broadened focus to promote a sense of community and inclusivity; emphasis is placed on social integration, physical development, and communication skills. Activities include Empowering Steps MT (Gym and aqua), games, arts and crafts, free time, hiking, quiet time, bike riding, and games room activities. Registration is available approximately two months prior to the start date.
Empowering Steps Movement Therapy is currently offered at both our Coquitlam and Delta locations.
Empowering Steps Movement Therapy is currently funded by:
CKNW Kid's Fund
Athletics for kids
Various homeschool programs (please speak with your school service coordinator for more information)
Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society