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Jabadao in Special Schools

Read and talk body 

Read and talk body

Movement is a powerful way to communicate. To support the depth it offers we need to be as good at speaking in movement as we are at speaking with words.


It’s not simply about mirroring. It’s more than copying.


Our children need to be in charge of the subject matter, so we need to be able to work with whatever spontaneous, unfolding movement emerges. This might be tiny and almost imperceptible, constrained by particular muscle tone, or near constant, boisterous movement.

We give you the tools to meet it all

We explore ways of using shared rhythm, shared movement (big and small), shared energy and sensory awareness to foster sustained connection and conversation; and ways that fit your body and available energy.


The practice is designed to support children who have complex needs arising from communication and interaction difficulties, autism and severe learning needs.

"The intrinsic value of having a "voice", being understood and making a contribution valued by others - having a place in the world - cannot be underestimated. And here is a way in which every child can have this experience."

Three parts to the Jabadao approach


Build connection using kinaesthetic empathy as the core technique


Grow sustained interaction through free flow, spontaneous movement play


Grow your developmental movement knowledge to ground your practice


Kinaesthetic Empathy

Kinaesthetic empathy means feeling movement as well as seeing it, and using both streams of information as you build connection.


Imagine watching a football match or a dramatic scene unfold. Have you found yourself unconsciously tensing and relaxing in your body, or feeling joy or sadness, as you watch. That’s kinaesthetic empathy in action.


We offer a practice that uses this as a conscious technique to build sustained movement conversation with children. We unpack it step-by-step, so you can deepen the techniques you already use to support communication.


It allows a child, whatever their movement capability or communication needs, to:

  • lead the movement

  • engage in a playful relationship on their own terms

  • have space to just be - free from pre-determined learning aims and goals

  • follow their body


Free flow movement play

When a child provides the subject matter, our role is to meet them in their movement.


We offer techniques that go beyond mirroring, ways to let a child know that we are with them. Even if they want to resist engagement.


In a Movement Play approach you develop your ability to:

  • tune in to what children’s bodies are saying

  • offer persistent and careful attention at a body level

  • talk spontaneously in movement

  • ensure it is safe and pleasurable


It doesn’t set out to develop social skills, or physical skills. (Although both these are likely to happen.) It’s about being together and allowing the conversation to unfold. It's effectiveness lies in it’s open-ended nature.


Developmental knowledge

The Movement Play will be very different with different children. To extend your ability to support whatever arises, we offer a developmental movement perspective to ground your practice.


This gives you knowledge about the early reflexes that guide the first foundations for physical development. We often see these at work in Movement Play. Understanding what they are - and their role - means you can recognise and support them as they emerge.

Train with us

Speak to us about a training project or join an online course today
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