Unique Steps Dance Academy provides high-quality dance classes for children/ teenagers living with autism, neurotypical children, and adults in a non-competitive, inclusive environment. Unique Steps began programming for autistic children in 2013. In 9 years, we have worked with over 230 children and teens living with spectrum disorders who have gone on to lead exceptional lives. Our motivation for creating programming for this population originates in Melissa Medeiros (founder/director) experience as a professional ballerina and as a licensed therapist who works with children living with autism. Melissa’s clinical experience along with her experience growing up in Massachusetts and dancing in competitive schools in Massachusetts and New York, and eventually dancing for the Boston Ballet, inform her desire to make dance more inclusive. Her experience as a professional dancer taught her that although negative assumptions about neurotypicality shape the world of dance, dance can impart core life skills– focus, social skills, motor control, discipline– to autistic children/teens who often do not get an opportunity to move their bodies much less perform in public. She also learned that there are not many safe dance outlets in Massachusetts for non-neurotypical children/teens to learn dance technique. By bridging her passion for dance and serving children living with autism, Unique Steps creates a therapeutic- inclusive place in which autistic children/teens can learn core life skills and in which neurotypical children can develop healthy relationships with children living with disabilities.
DEAI anchors Unique Steps in several ways. Firstly, a core tenet of the studio is to create a more inclusive and accessible world for children/teens– Bipoc and white– living with autism. Populations living with disabilities have been not only misunderstood but also historically excluded from activities such as dance. We aim to disrupt that exclusion by creating programming for autistic children/teens and by bridging the chasm between neurotypical and autistic children/teens in our programming and recitals. Secondly, our general population includes Bipoc and non-Bipoc children and families. Finally, our staff includes a variety of ethno-racial and gendered backgrounds including African American, Mexican American, and white. Ultimately, at Unique Steps we believe that no one should be turned away from our studio for any reason (disability, race/ethnicity, finances, etc.) We have worked hard to develop a reputation for our inclusivity. Funding will help us to provide programming regardless of ableness and socio-economic limitiations.
To give every child the opportunity to participate in movement and feel successful whether that’s as a member of a therapeutic class, individual session or integrated class.
When you contact us about participation in the program we will set goals tailored to your child’s specific needs. Please note that service animals are always welcome at our studio.
“It’s nice that Unique Steps offers a program for children on the Autism Spectrum as it gives them a chance to interact with others and build on their social skills. The dance program that Unique Steps offers for our daughter has improved her social interaction skills with others. She has had a great time going to dance class and meeting new friends.”
Unique Steps Dance Academy Two
Unique Steps Dance Academy 19 N Washington St. N. Attleboro, MA 02760
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