Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes. Some of the behaviours associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills’ and sensory sensitivities. Again, a person on the spectrum might follow many of these behaviours or just a few, or many others besides. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is applied based on analysis of all behaviours and their severity. Know the signs: Early identification can change lives
Autism is treatable. Children do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes.
The initial communication through the body eventually led to a spontaneous verbal expression, initiated directly from child’s expressive self. All of this grew directly out of the spirit of play and movement expression that enlivened social interaction and relationship formation. While moving in rhythm together, there was a sense of community, connection, and an experience for both of us that we were not alone, but together. The experiences of following rhythm, pacing, and the establishment of a trusting therapeutic alliance is important to any treatment process. However, they are also important in the parent-child experience.The lack of social reciprocity from children with autism as well as their behavioral disturbances and language deficits, tends to make this disorder difficult and stressful for parents in a manner that is different from other developmental disorders. Dance movement psychotherapy can certainly directly address this deep “human effect” of autism. By helping parents experience how to attune, join, connect, and understand their child through the use of nonverbal language, dance/movement therapy can support parents in forming warm, empathic and satisfying relationships with their children.
Learning disabilities, or learning disorders, are an umbrella term for a wide variety of learning problems. A learning disability is not a problem with intelligence or motivation. Kids with learning disabilities aren’t lazy or dumb. In fact, most are just as smart as everyone else. Their brains are simply wired differently. This difference affects how they receive and process information.
Children with learning disabilities see, hear, and understand things differently. This can lead to trouble with learning new information and skills, and putting them to use. The most common types of learning disabilities involve problems with reading, writing, math, reasoning, listening, and speaking.
By bombarding the kinaesthetic sense perceptions from and during the warm up in preparing them to be in the session. There is a warm-up which begins from where the child is. It may be movement, it may be play! The aim is the letting go of tensions within the sensory-motor expression. It may be walking to their favourite music. During dance movement psychotherapy the bodily resistances can be addressed through a theme, something that the therapist picked up on during the warming up phase. Movement range, exploration and development are what the therapist invites the child into. For dance therapists a change in the movement expression of the child who has learning disabilities signifies a change on a deeper level. It may be a slow process but it is a movement for emotional health and well being.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition that becomes apparent in some children in the preschool and early school years. It is hard for these children to control their behaviour and/or pay attention. It is estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or approximately 2 million children in the United States. This means that in a classroom of 24 to 30 children, it is likely that at least one will have ADHD.
ADHD is not considered to be a learning disability. It can be determined to be a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), making a student eligible to receive special education services. However, ADHD falls under the category “Other Health Impaired” and not under “Specific Learning Disabilities.”
There are three groups of symptoms:
Dance movement psychotherapy uses play as a helpful role in treating attention deficit hyperactive children’s. Dance movement psychotherapy improves the motor function and reduce the behavioural and emotional symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Down syndrome is a set of physical and mental traits caused by a gene problem that happens before birth. Children who have Down syndrome tend to have certain features, such as a flat face and a short neck. They also have some degree of intellectual disability. This varies from person to person. But in most cases it is mild to moderate.
Down syndrome is a lifelong condition. But with care and support, children who have Down syndrome can grow up to have healthy, happy, productive lives.
Down syndrome is caused by a problem with a baby’s chromosomes. Normally, a person has 46 chromosomes. But most people with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes. In rare cases, other chromosome problems cause Down syndrome. Having extra or abnormal chromosomes changes the way the brain and body develop.
Dance movement psychotherapy aim is to create a holding environment. By this the therapist creates an environment where children feel safe expressing themselves in movement. Therapist access skills in kinaesthetic empathy and mirroring, as well as establish appropriate boundaries to create a holding environment. The children then engage in appropriate social skills, and make choices that relate to the direction of group in the present moment, all of which are common therapy goals for children with down syndrome.
Epilepsy is most common in children and includes a variety of seizure types. Epilepsy is a condition in which a person has a tendency to have recurring seizures. Febrile convulsions are not a form of epilepsy. Children with epilepsy can still attend preschool, school and sports, but the risks must be managed. Epilepsy may affect learning and behaviour in some children.
Epilepsy can begin at any time of life, but it is most common in children under five years. Although epilepsy varies from person to person, children with epilepsy generally have seizures that respond well to medication, and they enjoy a normal and active childhood.More than half of children with epilepsy will outgrow their seizures as they mature, while others may have seizures that continue into adulthood.
Dance movement psychotherapy is a huge way to express things that can’t be expressed other ways. The difficulty of academics and frustrations with life-stresses can be hard for epileptics. Dance movement psychotherapy is a big boost for all types of people; no matter how limited they could be from some physical or mental issues. Dance therapy adds confidence and happiness and a sense of accomplishment.
Dance therapy is especially helpful in development of coordination in children with cerebral palsy. Because dancing is such a complex action, involving different parts of the child’s body and the coordination of moving those parts with the rhythm of the music, a child with cerebral palsy is able to practice use of their limbs in a fun, artistic way. Children love to dance to music, and children with cerebral palsy will strongly benefit from the opportunity to gain coordination between their limbs, develop their sense of rhythm, and just have a little fun.
Babies with severe cerebral palsy often have problems with their posture. Their bodies may be either very floppy or very stiff. Birth defects sometimes occur along with cerebral palsy. Examples of birth defects include a spine that doesn’t have the normal shape, a small jawbone, or a small head.
Cerebral palsy is a group of problems that affect body movement and posture. It is related to a brain injury or to problems with braindevelopment. It is one of the most common causes of lasting disability in children.
Cerebral palsy causes reflex movements that a person can’t control and muscle tightness that may affect parts or all of the body. These problems can range from mild to severe. Intellectual disability,seizures, and vision and hearing problems can occur.
Dance movement psychotherapy is perfectly suited for children to work through behavioral and emotional issues because they do their “talking” through non-verbal movement. Dance/movement therapy uses many different kinds of movement: body language, posture, gestures, facial expressions, breathing, body and spatial movement, and forms of dance- motor games, movement warm-ups, mirroring, and relaxation.
Children with emotional or behavioural disorders are characterized primarily by behaviour that falls significantly beyond the norms of their cultural and age group on two dimensions: externalizing and internalizing. Both patterns of abnormal behaviour have adverse effects on children’s academic achievement and social relationships.