Title of Abstract

Spin, Swing, and Sway on the Spectrum

Submitting Student(s)

Samantha MathewsFollow

Faculty Mentor

One WU mentor: Kelly Ozust, M.F.A.; ozustk@winthrop.edu

College

College of Visual and Performing Arts

Department

Theatre & Dance

Faculty Mentor

Kelly Ozust, M.F.A.

Abstract

Dance has been used throughout history not only to help people tell stories and express their emotions, but also to keep their bodies physically active and engaged. In today’s society people use dance for a multitude of reasons, including using movement as a form of mental therapy. Dance movement therapy and other art therapies seem to work especially well for children, as it gives them new ways to express their emotions and thoughts. For children on the autism spectrum, dance can be used to help these individuals progress in social, emotional, physical, and cognitive/academic areas. Each student has their own strengths and weaknesses, and will therefore need a unique dance movement plan to help them overcome the obstacles they may face. But, students can thrive from a series of similar exercises. Dance can be a wonderful tool for children on the autism spectrum, as long as the instructor has clear intentions and pure motivation for helping each child. This thesis identifies tools and techniques that educators can use as intervention strategies to help their students. This research is specifically for children with autism spectrum disorders, but the tools can be beneficial for all ages and abilities. These techniques are divided into specific goal oriented categories: physical, emotional, social, and cognitive progress. Classroom considerations and behavioral strategies are also incorporated.

Additional Fields About Your Abstract

Please check this if you understand.

Honors Thesis Committee

Kelly Ozust, M.F.A.; Michael Lipscomb, Ph.D.; Julianna Hane, M.F.A.; Jeremy Lopuch, Ph. D.

Honors Thesis Committee

Kelly Ozust, M.F.A.; Michael Lipscomb, Ph.D.; Julianna Hane, M.F.A.; Jeremy Lopuch, Ph.D.

Course Assignment

HONR 450H – Ozust & HONR 451H – Lipscomb

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Spin, Swing, and Sway on the Spectrum

Dance has been used throughout history not only to help people tell stories and express their emotions, but also to keep their bodies physically active and engaged. In today’s society people use dance for a multitude of reasons, including using movement as a form of mental therapy. Dance movement therapy and other art therapies seem to work especially well for children, as it gives them new ways to express their emotions and thoughts. For children on the autism spectrum, dance can be used to help these individuals progress in social, emotional, physical, and cognitive/academic areas. Each student has their own strengths and weaknesses, and will therefore need a unique dance movement plan to help them overcome the obstacles they may face. But, students can thrive from a series of similar exercises. Dance can be a wonderful tool for children on the autism spectrum, as long as the instructor has clear intentions and pure motivation for helping each child. This thesis identifies tools and techniques that educators can use as intervention strategies to help their students. This research is specifically for children with autism spectrum disorders, but the tools can be beneficial for all ages and abilities. These techniques are divided into specific goal oriented categories: physical, emotional, social, and cognitive progress. Classroom considerations and behavioral strategies are also incorporated.