April 6, 2015
BY | Paige Rosoff & Louise Weadock
Movement is our first language, and the only true universal language is the one that is communicated through our bodies and movement. Through play and other forms of art, it’s possible for children’s hidden emotions to shine through with self-expressive movement. This is true for Dance Therapy, which uses dance and movement to create positive change in children of all abilities.
What is Dance Therapy?
For over 50 years, dance/movement therapists have been the groundbreakers in the understanding of how body and mind interact in health and in illness.The scientific explanation is that Dance Therapy is “the psychotherapeutic use of movement as a process which furthers the emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual.” As a result of dance/movement therapy, children have shown improvement in areas of self-awareness, awareness of others, coping skills, and creating pathways from nonverbal movement to verbal dialogue. Dance/movement therapy is used within general and special education, in public and private schools, and in mental health settings.
Dance Therapy for Autism
For children with autism, especially those who have speech and sensory processing challenges, dance therapy can be extremely beneficial. Dance/movement therapists work closely with the child, determining their specific needs, and build up a non-verbal communicative relationship with them. Through social engagement and connection through movement, the child is often able to express themselves verbally and non-verbally in a non-threatening environment.
Read more on Dance Movement Therapy for kids with Autism here.
References About Dance/Movement Therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved April 4, 2015, from http://www.adta.org/about_dmt Dance/Movement Therapy With Children. (n.d.). Retrieved April 4, 2015, from http://www.adta.org/resources/Documents/Info-Sheet-DMT-Children-with-Resource-Bibliography.pdf