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What is the MOVE Programme?

What is the MOVE Programme?

The MOVE Programme (MOVE) is an activity-based framework that that uses the collaborative approach of education, therapy and family knowledge to teach disabled children the skills of sitting, standing and walking. Started in the 1980s by a US special needs teacher, MOVE has a 40 year history of raising expectations and improving quality of life for disabled children. In the UK and across Europe, the programme is coordinated by the charity MOVE Europe.


MOVE is built around 6 steps that are used in all aspects of a child’s life, throughout their day, by all of the people that work and live with them.

The 6 steps of MOVE

1.      Assessment - What skills does the individual already have?

2.      Goal Setting - What achievements would make the biggest difference to their life?

3.      Task Analysis - What skills are needed to get there?

4.      Measuring Prompts - What support is needed now? What equipment do they need?

5.      Adjusting Prompts - How will we reduce the support to achieve the goal?

6.      Teaching the Skills - How do we incorporate practices into everything the individual does?

This collaborative approach allows the MOVE team to work together to integrate the child’s goals into their daily activities. By providing regular opportunities for skills practice, MOVE enables disabled children to achieve mobility goals that have a profound positive impact on individual quality of life as well as family life. The child and their family are always placed at the centre of MOVE and it is their goals that are worked towards.


Visual overview of the collaborative approach, with the child and their family at the centre – based on a school setting


Who uses it?

1,050 children in over 120 settings are currently using MOVE in the UK with thousands more benefitting from the MOVE ethos. MOVE Europe delivers training and provides ongoing support to early years settings, mainstream and special schools as well as physiotherapy teams and Health Boards. We work closely with the organisations we train to achieve the best possible outcomes for the disabled individuals using MOVE, and we receive some amazing feedback:

Our pupils are more proactive, confident and social because of the MOVE Programme.” – Class Teacher, London

MOVE makes a huge difference to our students’ mobility, behaviour, access to community and family life.” – Physiotherapist, Edinburgh

MOVE provides a variety of different opportunities to learn valuable skills and reach personal goals.” – Therapy Assistant, Derby


How do we know it works?

Published research literature supports the effectiveness of MOVE (see details at the end of this article) but we also regularly receive stories from schools and parents that show the real impact that MOVE has on disabled children and their families. Here, Jo shares the MOVE story of her 6 year-old daughter Milly, who has Downs Syndrome, faltering growth and a visual impairment:

“Before Milly started on the MOVE Programme, her overall mobility was very limited; she couldn’t walk unaided, she could only stand for a few seconds and her muscle tone was very poor. Reaching basic milestones was challenging and we weren’t sure if she would ever walk or stand properly.

However, once Milly began MOVE, we instantly saw a dramatic change, not only in her posture and strength, but also her muscle development. Most of all her confidence grew, which gave her the ability to learn, play and interact with her sisters at home and her peers at school.image.png

I can honestly say every moment of every milestone has been overwhelming. In all aspects of her life, Milly has gained so much from MOVE; from being able to sit and be seated, to walk with support, then walk unaided, and now moving onto stairs & steps. Milly can walk into school, walk out in the Christmas play and she loves the fact that she can do it! She is now a more vocal and independent child.

I cannot begin to express how much this has positively impacted our lives; it’s something that we thought may not have been within our reach. It seems so easy to say eventually it would happen, but for us it was uncertain and we were fearful of not having the right help and direction. Of course, we do our best as parents at home, but the using the MOVE Programme at school is the reason our daughter is able to be free in life, music and movement.”

Cherry Garden School have also shared this amazing MOVE story video with us. Watch Ibrahim’s amazing progress to independent walking:


For more MOVE stories, check out our website linked below!


How can you get involved?

At MOVE Europe, we are committed to improving the lives of disabled children through learning independent movement. If you would like to experience the benefits of bringing MOVE to your organisation, please get in contact with us on move@enhamtrust.org.uk.

Additionally, you can find more information on our website: https://www.enhamtrust.org.uk/move

Twitter (@MOVEprogramme) and Facebook (/MOVEprogramme).


Here at the FSF and Tapestry, our SEND Advisor Stephen Kilgour is pleased to announce that Tapestry are going to be adding a brand new MOVE Branch Map to their Cherry Garden Assessment Framework. The Branch Maps provide a flexible, child centred approach to assessing children's progress, and allow for linear as well as lateral progress to be celebrated. The MOVE Branch Map was developed by Cherry Garden School which is an Outstanding school for children with complex learning needs in the London Borough of Southwark. The school have been using the tool within Tapestry to evidence and demonstrate the amazing progress that their children have made, and now MOVE would like other settings to benefit from the work that has taken place. If you would like the MOVE Branch Map turned on for your setting, you will first need to contact MOVE who can then inform Tapestry that you are a MOVE setting.






Research on MOVE

·       Bidabe, L. 1999. MOVE: Mobility Opportunities Via Education. Bakersfield, CA: Kern County Superintendent of Schools.

·       Barnes, S. B. and Whinnery, K. W. 2002. Effects of Functional Mobility Skills Training for Young Students with Physical Disabilities. Exceptional Children. 68(3), pp. 313–324.

·       Thomson, G. 2005. Children with Severe Disabilities and the MOVE Curriculum: Foundations of a Task-Orientated Therapy Approach. East River Press.

·       van der Putten A., Vlaskamp C., Reynders K., Nakken H. 2005. Children with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities: the effects of functional movement activities. Clin Rehabil, 19(6), pp. 613‐620.

·       Whinnery, K. W. and Barnes, S. B. 2002. Mobility Training Using the MOVE Curriculum: A Parent’s View. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 34(3), pp. 44–50.

·       Whinnery, K. W., & Whinnery, S. B. 2007. MOVE: Systematic programming for early motor intervention. Infants & Young Children, 20(2), pp.102-108.

Verity Sowden
Verity is the Marketing and Events Coordinator for MOVE Europe.

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