MOVE Europe has been making a difference to the lives of disabled children in the UK for over 20 years since its establishment in 1997. But, the international history of the MOVE Programme extends back even further, with the programme originally having been developed in the 1980s by a special needs teacher in California - meaning the MOVE Programme has been in use for almost 35 years!

The first pilot study conducted in the 1980s showed the dramatic impact that MOVE can make and the programme quickly began to spread, first across California and then more widely across the states. Did you know that there have been over 20,000 MOVE practitioners trained in the USA, as well as others in Australia, New Zealand and Japan?

For years we have communicated with MOVE International, our US counterparts, but we have never had the chance to properly compare our organisations, share challenges and opportunities, or talk about future projects we would like to work on. We know that there is so much we can learn from each other, so recently we have been talking a lot more about all things MOVE from both sides of the pond.

Last month we were lucky enough to be invited over to the US by Rifton, an international disability equipment company, to meet with them and MOVE International. Rifton’s products were initially developed for use with the MOVE Programme and they work closely with MOVE International to this day.

The trip was invaluable for many reasons, but we would like to highlight the three aspects that impacted us the most:

  1. Seeing MOVE in action: we visited two MOVE Model Sites (the US equivalent of Centres of Excellence) which enabled us to compare how we maintain high quality MOVE provision across all of our organisations, as well as what best practice looks like in the UK and US. While differing legislation, such as those surrounding moving and handling, make some aspects of our delivery different, we were pleased to see that practice in a US Model Site closely resembles a UK Centre of Excellence.
  2. Meeting with Rifton: we spent a morning at Rifton, touring the factory and meeting with the directors of the company, who are also trustees of MOVE International. This helped us to gain a deeper understanding of the history of the MOVE Programme and to provide an update of the progress we have made at MOVE Europe since we began working with Enham Trust back in 2015.
  3. Planning for the future: with both organisations facing similar challenges in the current climate, we also discussed potential ways we can collaborate both now and in the future, such as assisting each other with research projects on the programme.

This trip marks the beginning of a closer relationship between MOVE Europe and MOVE International. Going forward we will support one another to continue driving the development of the MOVE Programme and ensure that the young people we work with across the globe achieve the best possible outcomes for many years to come.