Research Chat

Episode 5: The effects of community-based physical activity. Nicole Luymes, Kinesiology

Episode Summary

The fifth episode of Research Chat features Nicole Luymes who completed her PhD in the Department of Kinesiology. Her article and interview on Research Chat focuses on the effects of community-based physical activity, using the Movin’ and Groovin’ program as a case study, for young people with developmental disabilities.

Episode Notes

The episode features:

Episode Transcription

WLU Research Chat S01E05



Nicole Luymes, Shawna Reibling



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Shawna Reibling  00:04

Welcome to Research Chat, a podcast where students share their experiences at Wilfrid Laurier University and their current research findings. I'm your guide Shawna Reibling, a knowledge mobilisation officer at Laurier and in each episode, I will interview a Laurier student who is exploring a specific research passion through their graduate research work.



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Shawna Reibling  00:36

Please tell me your name and the program you completed.


Nicole Luymes  00:39

My name is Nicole. I was Nicole Reiners, but now it's Nicole Luymes. And the program I completed was a PhD in Kinesiology.


Shawna Reibling  00:48

Who were your supervisors?


Nicole Luymes  00:50

The first was Dr. Pam Bryden and second is Dr. Paula Fletcher. And both are in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education.


Shawna Reibling  01:00

Why did you choose the Kinesiology and Physical Education Doctoral program at Laurier?


Nicole Luymes  01:05

Well, that's sort of a winding path I suppose. I did the Health Science program for my undergrad at Laurier. And when it was time to do a thesis, I wanted to do a little bit of research in dance and that's what led me to working with Pam. First of all, there was not really any professors in health science at that time that were doing research. So we all had to sort of explore outside of that particular program. So then, that led me to kinesiology and then I had a really great thesis experience which led me to doing my masters and we brought Paula on. And then when I was getting close to finishing that, I felt like there was so much more research that I wanted to do. And Pam and Paula really offered me a lot of freedom and opportunities so, I was allowed to research whatever I wanted to research. So there are some supervisors that have a very specific research program and, you know, you can choose study A, B or C within said program. But with Pam and Paula, I was able to approach them saying I want to study this thing, can we do that? And then they would say yes, and figure out how to make it happen. So I felt that they were amazing supervisors to work with, our personalities clicked really well. So then when looking into doctoral programs, I chose to stay with them because of those opportunities because of our relationships. Because finding a supervisor is basically like finding a family member, you really work with them very, very closely. And it's really important that you can work well with that person or those people in my case.


Shawna Reibling  02:35

Looking back at your first day in the doctoral program, what advice would you give yourself?


Nicole Luymes  02:40

I want to answer this question in two ways, I guess. The first is that, maybe this is counterintuitive, but I almost wouldn't give myself any advice because I feel like a lot of the ways that I sort of stumbled through things shaped my experience. And I feel like I had a really positive experience. You know, if I was to give advice to a new student, for sure, communicating with their supervisors is really important and in my case, my supervisors provided me with a lot of opportunities. Based on the type of personality I have, I like to say yes to those opportunities. And it sort of got me in a position where I had a lot of jobs and duties and responsibilities. It ebbed and flowed but, there were a lot of times where that was somewhat overwhelming just because, you know, all of the opportunities were amazing. And I really wanted to get the most out of the program that I could. My advice would just be to pace yourself, communicate if there's too much on your plate, or if that's something that you know you want to do, but maybe not right now, because you're already doing these other things. I suggest sort of taking one thing at a time seeing how it goes, if it's going well adding another thing to your plate.


Shawna Reibling  03:43

That's a huge challenge to set those sorts of boundaries with your supervisor. And it was great that you had an existing relationship with them to feel comfortable enough to do that.


Nicole Luymes  03:52

Yeah, that's something too that I, I wouldn't say that I took it for granted but, I just assumed, oh well, that's how it is for everybody. But I had three years of experience with Pam and Paula before I started my PhD and that made a huge difference in my comfort level in communicating with them, you know, when I needed a break, and when I was ready to take on more. How has your experience in the doctoral program influenced you both personally and professionally? As I already said, I had lots of opportunities to learn sort of what I wanted to learn. And I was able to grasp which things I really enjoy to do and which things I don't enjoy to do as much. And I think that that will really direct my professional life. I find that when I'm going through different opportunities, seeing what's available, I know fairly quickly what I'm going to enjoy and not enjoy based on my experiences. So, I really enjoy working with people talking to people putting together content to teach in some way shape or form. Now from my experiences, you know, doing those things in my PhD, I know that that's the thing that I want to look for in a career. So it's something that, you know, a lot of grad students will think about, okay, well, if I've done research, and I've given lectures, then therefore I should become a professor. One of the bigger focuses that I've learned later on my PhD is that those are transferable skills that really you can do in many different jobs. So yeah, I think that just developing that sense of, of who I am, what I enjoy to do has certainly been one of the biggest influences of the program.


Shawna Reibling  05:26

What practices have you found helpful to cultivate a successful educational journey?


Nicole Luymes  05:31

So the first one that I would suggest, I've worked with a lot of undergrad thesis and Master's students throughout my PhD, and this is one of the biggest pieces of advice that I would give to them, is to start with the end in mind and work backwards. I always started with some sort of deadline or due date, whether that was, you know, a hard deadline that the university set or my supervisors set. If I wanted to have a certain paper written by x date, then I would work backwards to figure out what milestones I need to hit along the way. So if the paper is due in two months, I know that I need to give myself a few weeks for revisions back and forth, my supervisors, and I need to give myself some time to specifically write the introduction, then the methods do my literature review. So just working backwards, breaking down the big scary task of writing the paper into the smallest little bite sized pieces that can actually get checked off a to do list. Because I feel like if you have on your to do list, write this paper, you're never going to feel successful, because you don't get to check it off until it's submitted and even at that point, sometimes it comes back to you to haunt you later. And then, having other people to to ask for help, whether that's supervisors or colleagues. I would say in the same program will be really helpful because they're sometimes dealing with some of the same stressors that you might be. So yeah, having that sort of group of people to help keep you accountable to whatever those dates are, but also to support you, you can vent to them if you're having a hard day, ask questions if you're not not knowing how you're supposed to do a particular statistical analysis, and you might have someone else in your lab group that can help walk you through those steps so that you don't have to wall. Setting those deadlines, working backwards, and and having a group of people that can help support you were definitely most helpful for me.


Shawna Reibling  07:14

It sounds like your program has a really strong sense of community.


Nicole Luymes  07:18

Yeah, it does. Our relationships within kinesiology are certainly very close.


Shawna Reibling  07:23

Thank you. Now, I'll shift my questions over to your research. One of the goals of your research is to encourage the development of physical and social skills through community programs that include kids of all abilities. What led you to pursue this goal, and have you done it throughout your doctoral studies?


Nicole Luymes  07:39

It sort of started back in my undergrad thesis; I wanted to study dance but I also had a vested interest in disability. I grew up with a cousin who has Down syndrome and he really loved to dance. I had been his supporter at a camp before and sort of saw him come alive when the music came on and I knew that he was participating in community dance programs. So I wanted to study one of those programs, and just see how it worked, how the instructors taught, what sort of things they included into their classes, and what sort of outcomes that have for the participants. That's what I did my undergrad thesis, it was primarily focusing on Down syndrome, again, influenced by my cousin. And then in my master's, I broadened that to examine Autism Spectrum Disorder, again in community based dance programs. But then in my PhD, I broaden that to look at Community Based physical activity programs for kids of all abilities, specifically inclusive programs that have disabled kids and non disabled kids. So again, this sort of came from my background in physical activity, starting from dance, but not wanting to just look at, you know, the regular programs that were out there. I wanted to see how we could make these programs work for people of all abilities. And sort of think outside of the box of what we normally would envision a physical activity program is or dance program is.


Shawna Reibling  09:00

You mentioned being inclusive to kids of all abilities, do special needs kids and disabled kids have the same needs from activity programs?


Nicole Luymes  09:08

So movement is fundamental to human life. It's one of the first things that that happens, even inside the womb, when babies are born, they start to move and explore their bodies and explore the world through movement. And it's something that is essential for development. It doesn't matter if you have a diagnosis or if you're neurotypical or whatever, the more that we can move our bodies and use them to their full extent, the more that's going to contribute to a healthy development. So something that we're seeing more recently, but this has been a concern for many, many years is that kids are spending a lot of their time sedentary. Kids are spending more of that sedentary time in front of screens. And it's not to say that screens are are bad or that they're causing sedentary time, it's just that we tend to see that sometimes that excessive time sitting can be associated with different behavioural concerns or even postural concerns. Sometimes kids just kind of get pent up, they have a lot of energy that they haven't spent by being active, that can sometimes contribute to them not sleeping as well at night or not learning as well in the classroom. So a lot of research has shown that the more kids are active, the more energy they have, the more they're able to cope with life stressors, the better they're able to sleep at night. If kids have fewer opportunities to be active, then it really can affect many other facets of their life. And one that I that I really want to focus on in my thesis was looking at the social aspects of that. So kids who tend to go out and play more, and I'm referring to physical play. So going out to jump rope with a friend or play pickup basketball, or go for a walk around the block, whatever, the more that kids are active with each other, the more they - the more opportunities, they have to develop social skills. So physical activity can be a way to sort of create and strengthen social relationships. But also it tends to be that relationship between social wellness and physical wellness is quite strong. So again, the more activity a child gets, it tends to be related with their social skills, and vice versa.


Shawna Reibling  11:22

Is that what led to the development of the Movin' and Groovin' program?


Nicole Luymes  11:27

Yeah, so Movin' and Groovin' started just five years ago at this point. And it was pieced together from my own research in dance and disability, as well as a colleague of mine Brianne Redquest, she did a lot of research, and autism and disability. So we were together in this Ph. D. program. And we sort of brought our skills together to create Movin' and Groovin'. And yes, you're right, the social component, it was certainly very important to Movin' and Groovin' and we make sure that the program is inclusive. So, not only do we advertise it to kids with disabilities, but we encourage them if they have siblings that have or don't have a disability, that they also come to the program, so that it's something that they can do with their siblings. It's amazing for kids with disabilities not to just be in their own segregated programs all the time, but to have neurotypical kids to interact with, and sometimes those neurotypical kids can, first of all, they've certainly learned from the disabled kids, but also they can sometimes act as a role model, or what we really even saw was, you know, if there were siblings there, then sometimes those siblings understood what their disabled sibling was saying better than we could as instructors of the program. So sometimes they just acted as a support not only to their sibling, but also to us teaching the program. So yeah, it did certainly come from our research, it came from our background, both of us enjoy moving, enjoy exercising, so we kind of pulled all those things together to create Movin' and Groovin'.


Shawna Reibling  12:56

It also probably created a space for those siblings to feel proud of the role in working with disabled sibling, or really build a stronger relationship in that way.


Nicole Luymes  13:06

That's something that we we definitely saw over time. I'm thinking, you know, in particular, that we had two brothers in our program and that was something that was really cool for the neurotypical brother, he was actually younger, but he was able to provide support for his older brother who had a fairly severe disability. One other thing that we found even more important than that is that in Movin' and Groovin' all the kids get a one on one volunteer. Originally, we sort of had three or four volunteers for maybe 10 or 15, kids. But over time, we started to get more and more interest from from students wanting to volunteer the program and we were able to increase the well, decrease the ratio so that it was one on one. And again, originally, we didn't have one on one volunteers for the children who didn't seem to need that additional support. But what we noticed is that when they had the one on one support, they actually had someone to focus on them and just them for a whole hour. So one of the things that's very difficult about growing up with a sibling with a disability is that sometimes (this is not always the case) but a lot of times, mom and dad tend to be focused on that child, or maybe that child's needs trump the other the needs of the other children in the family. You know, sometimes the financial resources more more so go to that child with a disability, not because you know, parents love them any more, it's just that they, they have those additional needs. So when we paired those siblings with a one on one volunteer, they have someone that you know, was just there to listen to them just there to focus on them, just there to ask them. What do you want to do today in this program, or what did you do last night? Like I just want to hear from you. And that actually made the biggest difference. Those kids really started to excel. We just think that it boosted their confidence. Yeah, it made a really big difference that we, we were not expecting at all. To this day, now, we always have one on ones, even for the siblings.


Shawna Reibling  14:59

So the program involves one on one matching with support. What are the other features of the program?


Nicole Luymes  15:06

Movin' and Groovin' it always starts with circle time where we just wait for one to arrive, we say our names every single class, because sometimes that can be really difficult thing for kids to learn, and answer the question of the day. And sometimes we, well all the time, we try to incorporate some other form of education into that question of the day. So "what is a form of physical activity you can do at home?", "what helps you sleep at night?", "what's your favourite fruit?", something like that. Then we do some sort of warm ups moving around the room, some sort of dynamic warmup that will prepare them for the rest of the class. And then we sort of shift between three major components. The first is some sort of fitness, we'll either do some sort of circuit or workout, to develop strength and body awareness and develop understanding about physical activity that you can do at home just for the purpose of making you strong, it doesn't need to be sort of team sport, or whatever. So we do some sort of fitness first, then we'll shift into a focus on more fundamental movement skills that can be applied to other things. So that's where you might get your throwing, catching, kicking, sports specific skills, we'll focus on those for a component of the class. And not necessarily, you know, so that we can play a game of soccer, we'll practice the skills and we might sort of adapt a game of soccer to fit the needs of the kids in the class. But the goal is not necessarily so that they can successfully play soccer in a way that you know, you might do if you're on a soccer team, it's just that they have the extra practice on how to kick a ball, how to pass someone else, how to receive it, how to block a kick if you're in the net, or something like that. And then we focus on dance or free movement, creative movement in some way. So oftentimes, we'll turn on some music, we try to play things that the kids are really familiar with and love, so often those are Disney songs. We'll allow them to move to music sometimes will play freeze dance, sometimes we'll give them a ribbon, and then they can do a show and tell their moves. Because we want to also instill this idea that movement does not need to be prescribed, there's no right or wrong way to do it. And then the dance component, you really allow for that expression through your movement. And then to finish the class off, will sort of slow things down with some yoga or stretching or relaxation, something like that, but and even some mindfulness, so we have some yoga mats, we'll make a circle, sometimes the kids will take turns leading some yoga stretch or pose. And we'll take some time also to just sit or lay with our eyes closed. And think about how our body feels to develop that sort of, again, that sense of of their body in space, what it feels like to exercise, how you feel after you're done exercising. And also, we find that that is a really great way to help the kids wind down before they go to their parents. So originally, we didn't do that, at the end, we kind of kept things really high level, and then we'd send the kids, their parents, they would be really wound up. But then we started doing yoga at the end and the parents just loved it, they were like, "whatever that is, you make sure you keep doing that", because it helps, you know, the program typically ends at 7:30 at night. So if we finished with a wine down, then it helps them to go home, you know, in a more restful state, and transition easier into their sort of bedtime routine.


Shawna Reibling  18:18

That sounds fantastic.


Nicole Luymes  18:20

Yeah, we're pretty proud of it.


Shawna Reibling  18:21

What techniques did you find helping in involving students in the program and involving the university volunteers.


Nicole Luymes  18:28

So a lot of students in the Kinesiology program or Health Science programs, the undergrad programs at Laurier, a lot of them are looking to go on to physiotherapy, occupational therapy, med school, something like that and a lot of those schools really, really put a lot of emphasis into experience. So that's something that we try to provide it's something that they could do to gain experiences, first and foremost, to see if that's what they wanted to do. And secondly, that's something that they could put on their resume. How do we support them? We typically would meet with our volunteers before the program started, and gave them sort of a heads up on who they might be working with. So over time, we really got to know the kids well. So if Volunteer A was going to work with Child 1, then we could say, okay, Child 1 is like this and this is, sometimes they're triggered by this, and these are the techniques that we found helpful. So we could sort of talk them through some of those things. One of the things that we really wanted them to know going into it is that we want to Movin' and Groovin' to be a very free space. We wanted it to be something that the kids could feel welcome, exactly as they are and feel comfortable in their own skin. So really, you wanted the volunteers to know there is no wrong movement and movement in group and there's no wrong idea. Basically, we want the volunteer to encourage the kids in any way that they saw fit. So if, you know, especially in free movement dancing, they could say okay, "How can you make yourself big?", "How could you move fast or slow?" and it does not matter at all what the what the child did, they were to provide, you know, positive feedback. And that really came from the fact that a lot of kids, especially with, you know, as the severity of the disability increases, they have more and more therapeutic intervention. And in a lot of those therapies, they're being, you know, educated and trained on how to act in a social setting or to participate in school, or to improve their speech or whatever. And in those sort of settings, there's a goal in mind, there's an outcome, there's sort of like a correct thing, like you should say, this word this way. In Movin' and Groovin' we wanted it to be different than that. We want it to be like, "how do you want to do it?" and we really wanted the volunteers to know that, because if they didn't know that, then that our program wasn't going to function the way that we want it to.


Shawna Reibling  20:42

And how did the environment that was created within Movin' and Groovin' benefit the participants?


Nicole Luymes  20:47

A lot of the parents would make sure, you know, to get their kids in as soon as they saw the flyer or the ad, because they only had so much space. We actually would advertise to returning families first, just to ensure that they got a spot because we feel that having consistency over time is very difficult for families raising kids with disabilities, we wanted to make sure that we supported that in any way. So certainly the kids benefited from having that consistency. Sometimes they would even have the same volunteer for several years in a row, same instructors over time, and they could really start to anticipate what Movin' and Groovin' was going to be like and what we were going to do. First class everyone would come in a little bit shy, second class we'd start to see more of their personality, you know, and as time went on, they started to push the boundaries a little bit, see what they could get away with in the class. And usually, by the end, we sort of had this, this mutual understanding about what Movin' and Groovin' is like, what our expectations are like. We saw comfidence increase in a lot of kids. So I mentioned before that we would we allow kids to lead a stretch or a yoga pose and there'd be a lot of times, you know, early in the program that the kids would not at all want to do that. But then towards the end, they all had an idea, they all wanted to go first, or answer questions in circle time or something like that. So we just saw a lot more active engagement over time. One of the really interesting things that came out, a lot of kids would tell us, "Oh, yeah, I did yoga with mom and dad last night", or "I went home and I did my own exercise circuit." And maybe that's something that they did before Movin' and Groovin', but when we asked them about how they were adding physical activity to their life, they really did explain to us how they did that. One mom told us that her son was enjoying gym class at school, which he didn't typically enjoy, he didn't typically participate and now he was really loving it. And she attributed that to his participation in Movin' and Groovin'. Another dad said that he was playing catch with his son at home, and his son caught the ball, which he was very surprised at and, you know, and he mentioned that the instructors at Movin' and Groovin' and they're like, "yeah, we've been practising that". So just to see, you know, how other people were sort of noticing these little changes, you know, when you're in the class with them every week, you might not notice it. But then when you think back day one, to you know, year two in the program, you really do see some huge, some huge advances, you know, in their social skills and their physical skills, and their understanding about what physical activity is it how to incorporate it into their lives.


Shawna Reibling  23:20

It sounds like it also had positive impacts on the family as a whole?


Nicole Luymes  23:24

Yeah, I remember, a mom and dad of a little girl with autism, they were just saying that they loved sending their child to Movin' and Groovin' because they could see the confidence and her enjoyment in the program. You know, parents really do want the best for their kids and when they can see that their kids are enjoying something, a program that they found, that can make parents feel like, okay, I am doing something right. Especially with - parents raising kids have disabilities have the hardest job, like you're always providing care. Parenting as hard as it is but when you have additional needs to be aware of and to be supporting, it just... Caregiver burnout is so real and it's so difficult for a lot of parents. So for them to see their child, you know, excited to go we have a lot of parents saying that their kids would you know, ask "Is it Wednesday yet? Is it Wednesday yet?" or they get their stuff packed up and they be ready to go and jumping in the van and just looking forward to it. And I think that makes parents feel like I've done something right or I'm providing my child with an opportunity that they're really enjoying. So yeah, for sure that can extend to the parents. What should parents look for in a physical activity program for their children? Inclusivity I think, I think is really important, and I think for parents of typically developing children as well, I think that is a huge character builder. So that's something that you know, in Bri[anne]'s research, it wasn't even in my own, she did research with siblings, adult siblings. So they were reflecting on their life being raised with a child with a disability and an all of them were saying, you know, "I learned how to be a better human because I had this person to take care of like I just understood so much more about life and developed compassion and then patience." So I think, yes, we want our kids to have a really positive experience to gain lots of skills in physical activity programs, you know, like, there's lots of kids that are in competitive dance and they want to win the competition, and that that's not a bad goal. But I think offering variety, and not always being in those elite level programs, can actually be really beneficial for the development of children.


Shawna Reibling  25:22

Why are inclusive physical activity programs important in our communities?


Nicole Luymes  25:26

There's a lot of different reasons why people with disabilities are excluded or segregated. One of the things that I just noticed from my own childhood, and also doing this research, it's just that a lot of things in schools, primarily, a lot of kids are segregated because of their disability. Sometimes, if a child has just, you know, like, like a learning disorder or something, they can have additional assistance in the classroom, and they can be with the rest of their peers. But the more severe the disability gets, the more those kids are segregated. But I think basically, what we're learning as children is, okay, well, you have a disability, you're different. Therefore, you go over there, and you're in that other classroom. And I'm going to play with my other neurotypical friends outside because I know how to play with them. And I think that, that just gets ingrained in our minds, you know, as kids and we grow up thinking that's the norm. I don't know if that's the most beneficial way to raise people to participate in society with others. Because realistically, we all have different abilities and capacities and even though we might have all sort of qualified (quote, unquote) into a regular classroom, that doesn't mean that we're gonna be working with people, you know, who are just just like I am, or just like you are in a day to day career someday. The more that we can have that diverse experience and childhood, the more we're prepared for it and adulthood,


Shawna Reibling  26:52

You said that Movin' and Groovin' fills up quickly?


Nicole Luymes  26:54

The first couple years, we only did it once a week. And then over the past two years, we've expanded it. First we did two nights a week and now we're trying to figure out how to offer it online. So it's going to be starting in a week and a half. And we're doing a live zoom session, and then offering a pre recorded shorter session so that that way, if you missed the zoom, then you can still do this shorter workout at home. Ideally, I don't advertise it at all, we send out an email to some parents, and a lot of them reregister year after year, and sometimes they will share with a friend, or I will meet someone through research and then tell them well, we run this program, you know if they want to participate, but we've never actually had to try to fill it. I would imagine that we offered, let's say, two classes a night, four nights a week that it would fill up no problem. Part of that is because we try not to have too many kids in one class, the very max. capacity is 10 but more ideally, you'd be 7 or 8. And that's based on some research showing that, yes, the group environment is good, but sometimes when it's too too many, then it gets a little bit too chaotic, especially for kids that have a hard time in social situations. That's why it fills up and we had maybe some more resources for students. I've graduated so we're just trying to figure out how to continue the program because I was running it for the past five years. So what does that look like if I'm going to move on to something else? Those are some of the things that we're trying to figure out.


Shawna Reibling  28:22

That's a lot to figure out. COVID has definitely changed the environment for kids physical activity.


Nicole Luymes  28:28

Yeah, and that's something that I found really interesting. We did send out a survey to parents asking them, "What would you like to see from Movin' and Groovin' this year due to COVID?" And a few parents were actually saying, "Is there any way that we can offer some sort of in person program? We can have masks and do social distancing, and whatever?" And we would have loved to do that but the logistical issues are just that we don't have a space. We've run out of three different spaces before and all three of those spaces are not available due to COVID, they're just closed and there's no bookings available. And the second issue is that, I already mentioned the importance of the one on one volunteers so, because a lot of undergrad students are not on campus. Maybe if they're on campus, they might not be comfortable with participating in something like that, especially because there's only so much social distancing that we could do in that program. So just logistically, we don't have space, we don't have volunteers. We have instructors that are eager, and we have parents that are eager, but we're we're not sure how to do that. So the live zoom was the next closest thing that we could do.


Shawna Reibling  29:30

Maybe this is a new phase for Movin' and Groovin'.


Nicole Luymes  29:34

I mean ideally, it would be great to see Movin' and Govin' expand outside of Laurier. We have a bunch of different ideas for that. But one thing that we did do Bri[anne] and myself, we wrote a paper a manual basically on how we run Movin' and Groovin'. So we're working on publishing that. And another thought there's an Arts Express camp that's offered to KidsAbility every summer and that is put on through a university course at Laurier through the music department. So every year these students get together, they learn about the arts and adapting arts so that everyone can do them so: music, dance, visual arts, and drama. And they put this camp on every year. So then every year you have the volunteers and the student base to sort of make the program go. So in a perfect world, we would have a class where students could learn about adapted physical activity, and there are already two classes like that in Kinesiology at Laurier, that could run the Movin' and Groovin' program every year, and then there would be enough students to run it multiple nights. And then we could you know, book the space, we have a space on campus, that we could do that. So like there's lots of different ideas that we have, but sometimes working through a university that it just takes a long time to get these things to become a reality. So that sort of just the part that we're at right now.


Shawna Reibling  30:48

What are your continued research plans in this area?


Nicole Luymes  30:52

This is something that I'm trying to determine myself at the moment. I'm sort of in this... in a strange position. This is my first fall not going back to school in since I was four going into junior kindergarten. So I had plans to do a postdoc, but then because of COVID, a lot of that kiboshed, which I'm kind of okay with, it's it's giving me an opportunity to take a break and reassess. I really would love to work in the area of you know, community planning, accessibility, disability, more so from a program planning and policy perspective. I've always loved working directly with families working with kids but at the same time, I feel like, there's only so much I can do working with one family at a time. How can I do something that makes a bigger difference to more people? Working in the school board somehow, like that would just be fantastic. So that's actually kind of a shift in focus that this brief pause has allowed me to ponder on. So yeah, I would love to continue to research in disability and disability rights, inclusion in our society, but I'm not exactly sure what that looks like, at this time.


Shawna Reibling  32:06

Is there anything that I have not asked you about your research or your experiences at Laurier that you wanted to comment on?


Nicole Luymes  32:12

No, I think that's about it. My baby, I guess, during my research was Movin' and Groovin' and it was super successful. Even if it doesn't continue on, I know that it was it did its job for the years that we ran it. And yeah, I'm I'm really looking forward to, to seeing what's next, to sort of get out in the real world a little bit more. And I'm grateful for all the experiences that I had. Having a PhD and entering the job market, there's a lot of jobs I've noticed that I only would have needed an undergrad for or a master's degree for but the PhD really did give me that much more perspective. It honed my skills that much more so it's something that even if I don't, let's say go off to the professor, and teaching these sorts of things, is something that really did shape me and who I am. I'm just so grateful that I was able to do it, and hopefully to make a difference in the family's lives in Region of Waterloo.


Shawna Reibling  33:10

Thank you so much for sharing your research and the details about the Movin' and Groovin' program.


Nicole Luymes  33:15

Thanks for having me.



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Shawna Reibling  33:25

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