When a child is born with autism, there is a lot to consider. One aspect parent’s consider to be very important is how to connect with their child with autism. Dance therapy has shown some promising results when it comes to autism. However, this is usually helpful only when a very experienced professional dance therapist is present. The therapist usually has a master’s degree and many many hours of field experience. Over time, it has helped many to connect with their children with autism.
Dance therapy is the use of movement to affect the cognitive and behavioral functioning of an individual. The idea is that movement and emotion are connected, and that the body and mind are as one. That is to say, your movement is directly related to your thoughts and feelings in dance therapy.
There are four stages of dance therapy. There is preparation, which is like a warm, safety may be established through this method. The next stage is incubation, this is where the movements become less inhibitive and start to truly show the feelings of that person. Illumination is the stage in which the therapist brings to light the thoughts and feelings within the individual. The last stage is discussion, which will include informing the caretaker or parent of the outcome of the dance therapy.
One very important feeling that is being conveyed most often through dance therapy is empathy. When the dance therapist does a move, the person with autism may copy or mimic the move, this shows empathy. Through this movement and copying of movement, an empathetic conversation may be taking place within the mind of the person with autism and the therapist. This provides the therapist with a lot of information about what the person with autism is feeling and how they are thinking. Empathetic conversations are a major breakthrough when it comes to individuals with autism.
Dancing may be ideal for certain people with autism as it is structured and standardized, and this appeals to many people with autism. The combination of movement and music allows the autistic brain to arrange itself in a way it might not otherwise get. It also helps the brain to create new pathways that are helpful for children with autism. In addition to giving the therapist information, it may help the person with autism to better communicate simply because the brain is arranged in a different way during movement. This may help the person express themselves verbally, or non verbally more commonly.
There is a growing awareness of dance therapy as a way for those with autism to express themselves. Those with the aspergers form of autism benefit especially well to this form of exercise and therapy. Those with the aspergers form of autism are higher functioning, but normally emotionally crippled. People with aspergers may find it easier to move around in dance therapy, as some other forms of autism are physically crippling.
People with aspergers have a hard time expressing themselves and especially their emotions. With dance therapy, it is possible for the person to express themselves. If the proper steps are taken, and the highly qualified professional is there, there is a good chance that the therapist can tap into the mind of a person with aspergers. This could be huge for someone who is usually so closed off emotionally. Again, empathy is an important feeling that needs to be expressed. People with aspergers, by nature, have trouble showing empathy in general, and in general are seen as “closed books”, but through dance therapy, there is hope for those with aspergers. A child with autism took “Britains Got Talent”, a popular tv show, by storm showing his dance routine.
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