Dance therapy works for children with autism

The dance has great health benefits for children with Down’s syndrome and autism. Teacher Portia Abernathy maintains that dance not only does the body good but is also therapy for the mind and soul. Abernathy has worked for years teaching a special course for children with intellectual disabilities at the Boston Ballet School. She has observed two types of benefits during that time. First of all, there are cognitive advantages. Learning the different steps and movements, for example, helps children recognise directions, stay focused and understand the value of abstract concepts such as time and space. Dance as a group activity also promotes social inclusion, better social relationships and improves the mood of children with disabilities. These are skills and benefits, says Abernathy, that the children find useful in everyday life.

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