April is National Autism Awareness Month

as_naam2014_badge_250x250_webready_1The Autism Society launched National Autism Awareness Month over 20 years ago to “promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all.” These goals aim to increase awareness so that each individual with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has opportunities and options for the highest possible quality of life. April is a time to promote autism awareness, engage the community in understanding and acceptance, and explore treatment options and future research opportunities.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines ASD as “a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.” Symptoms vary, however “individuals diagnosed with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged” (CDC). For full diagnostic symptoms and criteria, please see DSM-V.

Rates of ASD continue to rise. The current statistics state:

  • One percent of the world population has ASD.*
  • One of every 68 children have been identified with ASD according to present estimates.*
  • ASD is considered the fastest growing developmental disability.*

*Statistics gathered from CDC

Dance/Movement Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorder

The practice of dance/movement therapy focuses on the movement patterns of an individual and utilizes that information to reflect and respond with the intent to expand nonverbal expression and develop relationships. This expansion of movement expression may assist ASD-diagnosed individuals with body-awareness, motor-challenges, communication, and socialization. Dance/movement therapy is practiced by trained professionals and can be used in individual and group sessions with people diagnosed with ASD. It can also be used to support the parents and family members of those with ASD.

Dance/movement therapy can also be utilized for an array of therapeutic goals depending on how the dance/movement therapist individualizes treatment–some examples include relationship and communication enhancement, social skills building, and increasing self-awareness and self-regulation.

Click the image below to download more information about dance/movement therapy and ASD from the American Dance Therapy Association. Share this information for National Autism Awareness Month. DMT-with-Autism-Informational-Sheet-page-001

Ways to Honor National Autism Awareness Month

Resources and References:

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