MoveSMART® for Workers with Physical Disabilities

Because many organizations may have workers with physical limitations, there may be some in your training. The following guides may can be applied to a wide variety of physical challenges.

– Don’t be afraid of including people with limitations in your session. The same principles of leverage, balance, and body mechanics will apply to them, even though the specific application may need to be tuned. (We’ve found that some MoveSMART® Instructor-Catalysts are surprised that Line of Power™ or SmartHands™ works quite well with someone in a wheelchair.)

– Each training group will be different. The main thing is to think through how you might change your routine to accommodate special needs so they won’t feel or be left out of the action. Or be embarrassed or feel slighted.

– Before your training, try a demonstration with a physically limited worker to see how it works and to work through how you might adjust the demo to be as effective as possible.

– Before the training, let the participant know that because of the time constraints in the session you will followup with him or her to talk about how they can specifically adapt the ideas presented.

– Of course, don’t make a big deal of their physical difference in front of the group. Even if you try to be complimentary and encouraging, many people with physical challenges don’t appreciate being singled out as “special” or different.

– But you can subtly pay a bit more attention to them when the group is in the “now try this with a partner” mode. Their partner with may not be able to figure out how a demonstration can be adapted. You may have to step in to give some help – but don’t do so at the expense of the rest of the training group. And, of course, without embarrassing anyone. Your attitude is most critical here. Think of making an adaptation just as you would for someone who is very tall or much shorter than their partner or dressed in heels, etc. No big deal.

– If they need more special attention than you’re able to give during the training, let them know you’d be happy to quickly catch up with them later. The important thing is to let them know that MoveSMART® can help everyone – and that you’re happy to work with them.

– Follow-up with individuals to see if they have any questions about adapting and applying various MoveSMART® techniques.

– Having a special training session with physically challenged people is an option – but it’s not something we recommend as a default. People work side by side with others that may be different from them – and we believe they should be trained in the same way.


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