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INTRODUCTIONAutism spectrum disorder is one of the most common neurological disorders affecting neuro psychomotor development in children. These children have very early signs of sensory and motor damage. Families of these children are constantly seeking alternative ways to support their children and there are billions of research dollars spent to find the best method, the best approach, and the best way to help people with autism rise to their fullest potential. Some of the therapeutic interventions which operate in the sensory stimuli have been found to display positive effects, as well as visual and auditory interventions, sensory-motor management techniques, and physical exercises.Synchronous repetitive movements may improve stimuli in the mirror-neuron system. Pectrus, et al. (2008) praise physical therapy as critical to find ways which can minimize neuromotor damage. Music and dance, in turn, exist in all cultures and are part of a series of creative behaviours. Dance/movement therapy is one approach that is gaining more attention for its unique capacity to work directly with the core deficits of autism.WHAT IS DANCE MOVEMENT THERAPY?Dance Movement Psychotherapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement and dance through which a person can engage creatively in a process to further their emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration.It is founded on the principle that movement reflects an individual’s patterns of thinking and feeling. It is an excellent way for children to experience their feelings and emotions through a non-verbal means. It also helps children to process these feelings and integrate them into a participating part of themselves. Social interaction is also aided by group dance movement therapy. Moving together in a group and sharing that experience is very powerful.Dance movement therapy is the use of movement and dance to support intellectual, emotional and motor functions of the body. It is the form of expressive therapy which correlates movement and emotion.It ranges from programs like ballroom dancing to more subtle form of movements like yoga and stretching to calm down the body. USE OF DANCE THERAPY TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE OF PEOPLE WITH AUTISMAfter the stunning performance of James Hobley, the eleven-year-old with autism who blew away the audience on “Britain’s Got Talent” with an amazing dance routine, it’s a fitting time to address the benefits of dance for children on the autism spectrum.The practice of dance is highly structured and very ritualized, a selling point for children with autism. Dance has the power to help unlock the imagination of a concrete thinker and it empowers the dancer to give expression to their inner life, something crucial to children who struggle with other modalities of communication. The therapy sessions focused on movement behaviour as it moves forward. The therapist helps the child to integrate emotional, physical, cognitive and social aspects using movements. This helps in reducing the stress level and managing the mood and improving body image and self-esteem.Dance/movement therapy has been effective in stimulating social interaction, enhancing mood, reducing anxiety, and increasing self-awareness and self-expression.  Movement serves as a catalyst for contact and paves the way for communication between the therapist and the individual. It helps in improving the communication skills by working on interconnectivity of motion and emotion. The focus of communication is on non-verbal attunement and mindfulness, both of which support acquisition and maintenance of language and cognitive skills.Movement interventions can help set limits whereby children can learn to control impulsive behaviour and to increase their ability to maintain focus and attention.  Dr. Lori Baudino, a Westchester-based clinical psychologist and dance/movement therapist says that the goal of DMT is not to teach kids to dance in the traditional sense, but to foster connection. She quotes that “Movement is a way that children are communicating all the time,” this therapy gives children a way to feel seen and opens avenues for others to join them. It also helps promote feelings of calm and security, boosts social skills and problem solving and supports emotional expression.Baudino also says some benefits, such as relaxation and increased body awareness, can show up right away, and that many children begin to engage from the very first session. RESEARCH BEHIND DANCE MOVEMENT THERAPYAccording to the interaction theory of autism (Gallagher, 2004), more primary forms of intersubjective understanding develop much earlier than the cognitively mediated Theory of Mind, which develops by the age of about 4 years (Baron-Cohen et al., 1985). Gallagher assumes that already toddlers acquire a basic knowledge of others’ internal states and intentions by observing their movements, gestures, or facial expressions. Following this view, the mind is not hidden but directly expressed in other persons’ embodied actions. Mundy et al. (2010) argued that the social impairments in ASD arise from limited simultaneous processing of self-and-other referenced sensory information. Therefore, embodiment theories emphasize that autism therapy should strongly focus on interaction on the nonverbal level and build basic social skills from scratch.Fuchs, T.; Schlimme, J.E., 2009, 22 (p. 570–575) supported non-conventional therapy approaches such as dance movement therapy (DMT) which correspond to the theoretical implications of embodiment, highlighting the role of motor movement and sensorimotor experience for mental states and as a medium for therapeutic change.Scharoun, S.M.; Reinders, N.J.; Bryden, P.J.; Fletcher, P.C. (2014) pointed out DMT as one of the creative arts therapies goes beyond embodiment approaches, for example, into the domain of aesthetics. The mode of action of DMT on social difficulties in autism can be the following: By practicing the bodily aspects of the process (e.g., mirroring) while at the same time emphasizing one’s own and others’ mental states (increase of parallel processing) the connection of bodily and mental states within the individual is strengthened. Thereby information about one’s own and others mental states becomes more easily accessible when certain bodily states are experienced or observed and thus the basis of empathy is improved. Beyond that, the intervention also enhances self-perception and taken together this adds to improvements in all aspects of the social symptom cluster including affect. Thus, DMT aims to “engage the brain via the body”. Adler in 1970 and Kalish in 1976 reported DMT is successful with its mirroring in movement (e.g. leading and following in movement). Similarly, many other researchers (Eberhard-Kaechele, 2012; Fraenkel, 1983; McGarry and Russo, 2011; Sandel, 1993) also supported the mirroring approach in DMT which uses empathic reflection of the clients’ expressive motor behaviour on the therapist’s side (and vice versa) to build a mutual relationship.Under the assumption of an intact rudimentary ability for attunement in ASD, DMT has the goal to strengthen this ability and to establish more advanced forms of intersubjectivity (Kestenberg, 1995). The present state of research suggests that DMT has a positive influence on attention, social skills, subjective stress perception, and reduction of stereotypic symptoms (Hartshorn et al., 2001; Weber, 1999); moreover, creative dance was shown to be beneficial for ASD children (Greer-Paglia, 2006). Hartshorne and colleagues, 2001 showed that 38 children with autism (ages 3–7), after receiving bi-weekly movement therapy in small groups of 3–8 kids led by a trained movement therapist, spent less time wandering, more time showing on-task behaviour, less time showing negative responses to being touched, and less time resisting the teacher compared to a matched control group without movement therapy. Research with teenagers has shown there are many benefits that come with increased physical activity for people with ASD (Pan & Frey, 2006). Studies have compared fit children to unfit children and found that exercise increased the growth of neurons and cell survival, enhanced memory and learning, and increased molecules involved in the plasticity of the brain. Fit children also demonstrated more efficient use of oxygen circulation throughout the body (University of Illinois, 2010).CRITICAL THINKING AND EVALUATION OF RESEARCHDance is one of the most ancient forms of healing. Today, dance movement therapy (DMT) is an established profession and, following the definition of the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA), it is used therapeutically to strengthen the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual. Temple Grandin, an author diagnosed with ASD, and Lara have discovered that movement and music together exercise the visual, gross motor, and audio processing parts in the brain (Lara, 2011). I totally agree with Grandin as the research have also indicated positive effects of dance movement therapy on the individuals with ASD through evidences. For example, Adler in 1970 documented two children’s developmental and interactional improvements during mirroring-based DMT in her classic video documentation “Looking for me” available through the American Dance Therapy Association ( In my opinion dance movement therapy which is based on mirroring, can help to improve body awareness, well-being (particularly decreased tension), increased self-other distinction and increased social competence.Based on the research, DMT also helps to address the stereotyped movements of disturbed children. These movement provide us the clues about the child’s emotions. The new movement patterns developed by the therapist can help to change the psychic behind such emotions.There is a connection of intersubjectivity with DMT for ASD in the research. It means that the therapist uses his/her own bodily movement to ‘meet’ the movement patterns of the patient. I feel, this connection is little weak as children with Autism are weaker on the aspect of theory of mind. These children come to the dance world with innate atypical quality to the attuning environment and these atypical attunement patterns does not allow mental simulation to emerge. Also, I, believe that due to the atypical development of intersubjectivity, lack of (relational) experience as in “ways of being with” will emerge.The research focus also has been limited to the behavioural aspect of movement behaviours of the ASD children. The movement behaviours have not been taken into consideration. FUTURE DIRECTIONSDespite all the limitations mentioned above, I believe that dance movement therapy can have a brighter future in helping people with autism through following ways: • Research: The specific developmental pathways of interpersonal movement behaviours have not been investigated in depth within the current research, but they might be of interest for further studies.• Task specific testing: It is important to test that the skills which are learned in dance are applied by the participants to non-dance environments, have the same effect or not.• Specific goal:  DMT concentrates on many aspects but as we know every child with ASD is unique and different, so the session of therapy should address the specific needs of the child and not the bigger picture.• Tools: It is a necessity that while going under a therapy, the child should be assessed from time to time to see the improvement in the symptoms of their autism. the tools like Revised Clinical Scale for the Evaluation of Autistic Behaviour and Kestenberg Movement Profile can provide the dance/ movement therapist with a framework for relating to children and formulating goals and treatment plans. • Parents training: There should be more focus on parents and caregivers’ involvement and ability to implement the intervention strategies are essential for obtaining the best long-term outcome for a child.  The more parents participate during therapy and after and the more skilful they are, the closer we are to achieving the best possible outcome for the child. 

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