American DanceWheels Foundation (ADF) is a non-profit organization that teaches Wheelchair Ballroom and Latin Dance. Wheelchair dancing integrates people with disabilities and able-bodied individuals and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and ability levels. American DanceWheels created the first American style wheelchair dance syllabus, Wheel One™. Our organization promotes wheelchair dancing through educational seminars and performances in dance studios, schools, and rehabilitation facilities across the country. Take a look at our most recent newsletter, and become a part of ADF today!
In 2012, ADF’s teachers partnered with researcher, Minna Hong, PT, PhD, at the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health Care System to provide a 6-week Wheelchair Ballroom Dance Program as part of a research project entitled, “So You Think You Can’t Dance?”. The study was open to veterans and non-veterans in three Bay Area California locations. With our program, Dr. Hong conducted a pilot study to investigate the therapeutic effectiveness it may have on people living with spinal cord injuries. The scientific results of the research project were officially announced on September 2, 2013 and received an award recognition at the 2013 Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals Conference. This is a brief summary of their report:
Participants engaged in wheelchair dancing with a standing partner using manual and power wheelchairs over a 6-week period. Participants were assessed with multiple physical and physiological outcomes, as well as functional, psychosocial, and clinical outcomes. Attendance was monitored as a measure of adherence. Participants demonstrated significant improvements in bilateral range of motion, strength, 6-min wheeling distance, reaction time, wheelchair skills, upper extremity coordination, and community participation. Participants also demonstrated significant reductions in weight and resting pain. Adherence was very high at 93%! Results suggest that ADF’s program has multiple physical, physiological, functional, and psychosocial benefits. Based on these preliminary findings, a randomized, controlled study with long-term follow up is warranted. Such a study may provide a foundation for implementing novel dance-based therapeutic programs that are fun and thus encourage participation for individuals with SCI.
If you wish to help ADF with the long term program and research project, donate here!