" Suzi Tortora, Ed.D.,a certified movement analyst and dance therapist contends that when a parent or caregiver understands his/her child's nonverbal expressions, he can more effectively help them improve their socialization, as well as manage their tantrums.
In her therapy sessions, Dr. Tortora implements dance therapy to mirror the type and emotional quality of an autistic child's movements. This helps the child relate to her instead of reverting into hi/her private, inner world. This tactic includes riding out a tantrum, using movement to remain nonverbally connected. In turn, this will help that shall begin to learn to communicate and remain connected, consequently regaining control of him/herself. "The key is that children with autistic spectrum disorder have a difficult time relating," Dr. Tortora explains. "They are idiosyncratic in their movements. They are sensorially over- or understimulated, and they can quickly escalate to a place of total body dysregulation." (Splete) From "Out" to in Sync Dance/movement therapy helps autistic children who are "out of sync" not only with others involved in their lives, but who also experience problem connections between their bodies and emotional selves, by helping restore that connection/rhythm. Hoban notes benefits to include helping autistic children improve their interactions with others; promote self-expression; help alleviate depression. Hoban also explains that in dance/movement therapy, even movements are considered important and deemed an evocative form of self-expression. Styles of dance movement therapy may include, among a number of others:
mirroring or reflection amplification
In mirroring or reflection, the client and therapist move together, "mirroring" each other's movements. In the amplification technique, a therapist encourages the client to display larger or fuller movements. (Hoban) "The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) have recognized dance therapy as a specialty of counseling and have designated the Academy of Dance Therapists, Registered (ADTR) credential for dance/movement therapy signifying readiness to teach, supervise and work in private practice. (Hoban) Currently, even though researchers work to understand the brain function responsible for the genetic disorder of autism, the science reportedly remains murky. Researchers even disagree regarding why numbers have so dramatically increased during the last 20 years. Some attribute the rise to increased diagnosis; others argue that the environmental triggers, such as vaccines constitute the cause. During the past 10 years, research for National Institutes of Health funding for autism increased eightfold, to $81 million in 2003. (Hoban) Dance therapy can cost, on average, $70 to $160 per hour. Insurance, albeit, does not cover dance or other therapies for autism. The majority of insurance companies will reportedly pay "for speech therapy for children with cleft palate, for instance, or people who have lost their ability to speak because of brain injuries, but not children who have never learned to speak." Shawn notes in the introductory quote: "Dance is the only art of which we ourselves are the stuff of which it is made." As dance therapy is perhaps used more and more to treat the growing number of autistic children, perhaps the stuff these children are made of... what they are inside will begin to be communicated and change for the better. Perhaps...
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Hoban, Sandra. "Motion and Emotion: The Dance/Movement Therapy Experience.," Nursing Homes, November 1, 2000.
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Rosinski, Donna. "The Miraculous and the Mundane.(amelioration of autism)," Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, March 22, 2001. And the Shawn, Ted. (1988). Simpson, James B., comp. Simpson's Contemporary Quotations. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Retrieved 7 June 2007 at http://www.bartleby.com/63/64/7764.html.
Splete, Heidi. "Dance therapy helps in coping with autism." Pediatric News, May 1, 2005.
Steven Shore: Understanding the Autism Spectrum -- What Teachers Need to Know." Intervention in School & Clinic (interview), May 1, 2001.
Dance Therapy Help Autistic Children to Communicate