In honor of World Autism Awareness Day, Christina Devereaux, PhD, LCAT, LMHC, BC-DMT, NCC, discusses how the essential nature of human to human contact – movement – is fundamental to successfully working with children with an autism spectrum disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 59 children have been diagnosed. This makes discovering ways to communicate nonverbally with children along the spectrum essential to helping them feel understood while empowering their parents to create meaningful connections.
Devereaux outlines how dance/movement therapy can get to the heart of the matter when addressing autism-related concerns.
“The major strength that dance/movement therapy has in working with people with autism is its ability to produce treatment outcomes in the area of social relatedness, especially in the formation of relationships.”
These “dances of relationship” can provide profound meaning for children and parents alike. Devereaux says the only universal language is through movement and the body – something dance/movement therapists are expertly trained in interpreting.
Dance/movement therapists in turn can share these nonverbal techniques with the parents of children with autism, helping to create greater attunement and the opportunity for mutual understanding in the parent-child relationship.
This post was originally written by Kamahria Hopkins and published on April 2, 2015. The statistics have been updated to reflect 2019 data.