Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Children with sensory disorders take on circus challenge

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CIRCUS: A sensory training circus class is being held at Bayfair Shopping Centre. L-R Martin Gower, Rebecca Bilyard, Rowan Dawson. PHOTO/FILE
CIRCUS: A sensory training circus class is being held at Bayfair Shopping Centre. L-R Martin Gower, Rebecca Bilyard, Rowan Dawson. PHOTO/FILE

Bay of Plenty children with autism and sensory processing disorders are being given the chance to learn some circus skills.

A sensory training circus class is being held at Bayfair Shopping Centre this morning before the shops open, specifically for children with sensory disorders.

Director of Circus in a Flash, Rowan Dawson, said the quiet environment gave many children the opportunity they otherwise may not have to give circus skills a go.

"There are many different levels of ability, it's about making it work so they can achieve a sense of pride in what they've done," he said.

"We have juggling balls, spinning plates, juggling rings ... and we might even do some interactive parachute games. It's really good for co-ordination, confidence and special awareness, and has a social aspect as well."

By holding the class before the shops opened, factors which could overwhelm some children's senses such as crowds, loud noises, music and bright lights could be eliminated.

Mr Dawson said he enjoyed teaching children of different abilities to participate in circus skills.

"I just love the determination, enthusiasm and excitement they get when they're doing new things.

"Some can't walk or talk.. but we give them a stick and we'll get them to maintain a spinning plate ... They get it when they really focus or concentrate."

They would be holding extra support circus training for children with a variety of needs.

"It's really cool to see kids doing something different and something physical."

Families are able to book in for a 20-30 minute session at 10.30am, 11am, 11.30am or between 1pm and 2.30pm.

Bookings for all sessions can be made through the Customer Service Team on 07 575 9349 or email customerservice@ampbayfair.co.nz to book your preferred time.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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