It’s especially important for young children with autism to feel understood and more comfortable in moving their bodies to allow them to live lives that are fulfilling and safe in the physical, mental, and emotional domains of well-being. Helping a young child to communicate more effectively increases their happiness in social situations which can lead to less frustration and anger for them and those around them. Though many occupational and physical therapies have been and are being used to alleviate symptoms of autism in children, Dance/Movement Therapy is one that may be used but may not be cultivated to its full extent in practice. Purposeful Dance/Movement therapy, also known in this situation as Autism Movement Therapy, can offer benefits when implemented with or in place of standard therapies used in inclusive environments for children between the ages of ages 5 and 10 with mild to moderate symptoms of autism. These benefits include improving social skills in communication and emotional expression while also potentially improving gross and fine motor skills to create better cognitive awareness in the domains of mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
MacKenzie Boyles is a senior majoring in Dance/Movement Science and English. During her tenure at Salem, she has been a member of the Salem College Dance Company and the Pierrettes Players Drama Club. She enjoys bringing the arts and sciences together to create more compassion in the scientific world and give authority to the arts.