Sam attends a school with pupils from preschool class to year 9. The students come from all over Gothenburg with crane municipalities. All students have been diagnosed with language disorder. Language impairment is a disability that manifests itself in difficulties in speaking and understanding language. Anyone with a language disorder has a different pronunciation and grammar, limited vocabulary and a reduced understanding of words and sentences, which can create problems in everyday life both in contact with others and in learning. Several students also have additional diagnoses such as ADHD, ADD and autism.
During the spring term, two of our groups got the benefit of working with Cirkus Unik. This was very appreciated by the students and now we hope for a continuation where we can also give more groups of students the chance to be with Cirkus Unik. I have chosen to write here about the development of a student (whom I call Sam here) in our collaboration with Cirkus Unik.
Sam is an 8 year old boy. Sam has been diagnosed with language disorder and ADHD. Sam began to speak at the age of four. Sam gets upset and sad when he is not understood. Sam has a great need to move around. If he is not allowed to move, he becomes restless and stressed. School sports are difficult for Sam. It is difficult to stand in line and wait. Complicated rules and lengthy reviews are difficult. This does not often lead to feelings of alienation, conflicts, misunderstandings and communication problems. Sam also doesn’t like to change and shower after the sport.
During the spring term 2017, we got in contact with Cirkus Unik for the first time. This turns out to be a turning point for Sam. For the first time Sam changes his clothes. The students wear light and soft clothing to the circus and no shoes, which Sam thinks is nice. During the circus classes, Sam and all the students feel seen and heard by the adults. Sam gets a chance to move around all the time in a way he doesn’t feel filled of demands. He participates in all activities for the first time. It can be juggling, trapeze, dog position and building a pyramid with his friends. Sam and the other students get the feeling of being accepted, listened to and taken seriously. The experiences the students get through the circus also strengthen language understanding. Experiences are combined with new words and concepts. Through exercises like building a pyramid and working out together, Sam and the other rich opportunities get to work together. After our opportunities with Cirkus Unik, Sam is more positive about going to the gym. Sam is no longer as afraid of failure and dares to try more activities. Sam has developed his self-esteem and feels that he dares to be who he is. At our summer party with the parents in June 2017, the students get a chance to show some of what they have been working on with Cirkus Unik. The joy of this is not to be missed in parents and children. Since students with language disorders often find it difficult to find leisure activities and can become lonely, we also see that the interest from the parents is great. The parents find it difficult to find good leisure activities for their children. Finding Circus is valuable.
Besides the description of the development of Sam, all students in the group get a chance to a physical exercise that they experience positive. Research shows that physical exercise increases concentration and learning ability, reduces the risk of anxiety, depression and sadness, makes children relax and sleep better, offers better balance and coordination, etc.
Ulla Gustavsson Carlehäll (Kannebäcksskolan)
* Sam is a fictitious name