1996 - 2020
Illustration: James Morren
In 1996, Ms. Kogan began using her skills and opportunities to help children who are unable to help themselves, due to physical, emotional, and cognitive influences. She received a degree in occupational therapy in 2000 and, since then, using her special mix of traditional and movement treatments, has worked with a wide range of disabilities.
In 2007, she founded “Sensory Steps” - A Movement Intervention - for children with autism and other neurological disabilities to help them move more effectively, attend better, and improve social skills. As part of the movement experience, the program fosters expressiveness, creativity, social cohesiveness, teamwork, increased cognition, and a greater sense of self.
In 2013, driven by “what works”, armed with extensive research and a deep conviction in the power of movement, Ms. Kogan created a series of workshops called “KoganSteps” to help service professionals, educators, artists, and parents integrate movement practices into what they already do with the children they care for. “KoganSteps” has been presented at various international events and venues, including : “The Very Special Arts Program” at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC; Young Child's Expo and Conference, NYC; Prevent Child Abuse Conference, Albany, NY; New York Therapy Placement Services (NYTPS), NYC & Queens; NYC Department of Education, NYC; and the Lee Kong Chian Garden School (MINDS) in Singapore under the auspices of the John Mead Dance Company. In 2016, as part of the Dance Motion USA/BAM program, Ms. Kogan gave a two-day pre-tour intensive called “A Therapeutic Approach In An Artistic Package” to the Limón Dance Company, in NYC, to prepare the company members to work with disabilities in Africa.
Ellen Kogan holds a B.A. in Dance from the University of California at Irvine, a M.A. in Dance from University of California at Los Angeles, a certificate in Dance Therapy and a M.A. in Occupational Therapy from New York University.
September 2007 – A Program called “Sensory Steps – A Movement Intervention” begins in response to children’s motor control deficits as well as to help fulfill the NYS mandate to provide Adaptive Physical Education to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other neurological disabilities. The class teaches what is a new language for many of the children – The Language of Movement – which, because of their neurological deficits, many of the children have not had a chance to learn before. The goals are to help children move more effectively, attend better, and improve social skills.
Ellen Kogan conceives and directs the program with Barbara Bradbury, OTR/L.
All children come from one classroom and one teacher; total is approximately 13 children.
Children are 9 years and above.
Both teachers and service providers are included in the class providing modeling skills for the children and “universality” (people bonding together because they are all doing the same thing).
A consistent methodology begins to emerge. The treatment approach: 1) identify a motor control deficit in an individual child or children, 2) create a movement activity that addresses a deficit, and 3) integrate it into a lesson plan and repeats it over and over, in such a way, that, in time, change occurs. Maintain highly structured, predictable, routine, repetitive teaching environment for this population.
Children enter the program through team recommendation.
November 2009 – Ms. Kogan completes the curriculum. (see excerpts below).
2009-2012 – Ms. Kogan creates a theoretical framework, "The Movement Evaluation Continuum", to guide intervention.
Goals are created for both individual and group and include both, motor control and social skill development.
Children now come from 13 classes and 13 teachers – total is between 30-50 children.
Completion of the first eight movement studies to provide treatment and put the Movement Evaluation Continuum into practice. The movement studies are called “The Eight Dances”.
August 2013 – 1st video is created for presentation at the Kennedy Center. All movement studies/ dances are recorded.
August 2013 – Presentation at Intersections: The Arts and Special Education: John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.
September 2013 – 2nd video is created to further educate viewers and promote the program.
October 2013 – Added 5-8-year old children to the program.
November 2013 – Under the direction of Dr. Priscilla Feir, an assessment protocol begins to determine whether movement class can be linked to improvement in motor control and/or social skill development.
Fall 2014 – An initial positive presentation of assessment results. The work was not completed due to scheduling conflicts.
January 2015 – A new program was created called “KoganSteps”. KoganSteps is In-service Training for health care providers, artists, therapists, educators (including pre-school), artists, movement specialist, parents, parents with their children and caregivers.
There are two workshops:
“How to integrate Movement Practices into Clinical Treatment, Lesson plans and Everyday Activities.”
“How to Provide A Therapeutic Understanding in An Artistic Package.”
Workshops presented through 2018 include (pre-pandemic):
The Young Child Expo and Conference, NYC.
The Child Abuse Conference (PCANY), Albany, NY.
New York Therapy Placement Services (NYTPS). NYC.
NYTPS. – Queens, NYC.
NYTPS. “Movement and Mindfulness: The Importance of the Body-Mind Connection Across Modalities. Queens.
NYC Department of Education – Professional Development for Dance Teachers and Occupational Therapists, NYC.
The Lee Kong Chian Garden School (Minds), Singapore.
Lecture at LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts – “From Dance to OT: Disabilities, Dance and Education."
NYTPS. - Pre-school Teachers, NYC.
Limón Dance Company; pre-tour training for Dance Motion USA/BAM program, Dance Theatre of Harlem, NYC.
Two new research sections on the Mirror Neuron System and Rhythmic Cueing are added to the workshop.
As we are all cooped up in our homes, it is more important than ever to find meaningful ways to move. A webinar is being created to provide virtual training during the pandemic and beyond.
Movement Program Timeline
2007 - 2020
Excerpts from Ellen Kogan's Original Movement Program Curriculum
Barbara Bradbury, OTR/L
assistant and collaborator 2007-2015
Technical Supervisor 2007-2020
Ellen in Southeast Asia, 2017
Ellen with participants from KoganSteps Workshop in Singapore - improving movement practices for children with disabilities.
Sponsored by John Mead Dance Company
(Lee Kong Clian Garden School).
2018 KoganSteps Workshop
Dancer: Kathryn Alter, Limón Dance Company
Photo: Jen Holub