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 Post subject: Dance and autism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2005 11:01 pm
Posts: 1
Location: Bolivia
Hi, I´m new here and found your site while looking up information about autism and dance. I have a god-daughter who is probably autistic. I say probably because she doesn´t have a definite diagnosis yet, but we´re assuming that she is autistic. She´s almost 4 years old.

I´ve been looking for information about how dance can be a release for autistic children, and wondered if anyone had any resources they could direct me to? I have a background in ballet, and so her parents and I always assumed I would arrange ballet classes for Charlotte when she was old enough. Ballet seems something she would take to very naturally since the routine and perfectionism and near obsessiveness of it would certainly appeal to her! But then I started thinking that perhaps if this is how she is, would it perhaps be better to introduce her to a type of dance that was less structured, in an attempt to get her used to less structured activities. Does anyone have any experience of how autistic children cope or even excel in different types of dance classes? Also, what age do people consider a good age to start classes?

Any advice would be very welcome, especially if anyone knows of any articles on the internet about this kind of thing.
Thanks,
Eli


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 Post subject: Re: Dance and autism
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 11:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Hi Eli and welcome to CriticalDance. I'm going to move your post to our "Studio" forum, where teachers may repond to your enquiry and I have prepared a short response which I hope you find useful.

Look to top left for the direct link to the new location of the topic.


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 Post subject: Re: Dance and autism
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 11:43 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Eli, I had a quick look on Google and also in our own archives for relevant material. Hope some of this is useful:

Dance therapy comforts body, mind and spirit
by Andrea Nobile, Macomb Daily

http://www.bridges4kids.org/articles/9-02/Macomb9-3-02.html

Th American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) may be able to point you in ueful directions:

http://www.adta.org/whoweare.html

We have also had some discussions on this theme here on CriticalDance. One of our posters, Citibob, has Asperger's syndrome and has some interesting thing to say on these issues:

Ballet and autism

Also, one of the teachers who post here shared her experiences:

autistic dancers in recital...

I'm not a dance teacher, but from what I have read, my impression is that it is more likely your daughter would start in a general movement class and move on to ballet at a later stage.

Over to the experts.

<small>[ 09 April 2005, 07:24 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Dance and autism
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
Eli, what do you mean by dance as "release"?

You are exactly right that the structure inherent in classical dance will be good for your god daughter. No, don't enroll her in any other dance form, since then she won't get the benefit of structure and discipline in her life --- in which her energies are focused in a productive direction, rather than dissipating randomly.

Later on --- MUCH later on --- she can learn to deal with less structured situations: dance rehearsal and performance, for example, if she chooses to take ballet that far and into a professional career. And as a teenager or adult, she will be able to choose less structured things for herself, as she feels they will help her grow.


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