Take Care of Yourself Day - Monmouth-Karen

Why Dance Movement Psychotherapy is good for children with learning disabilities


Children in wales

Their September Conference was about parenting support and interventions for parents around this. My favourite part was a talk by Dr John Coleman a clinical and developmental psychologist and Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University.

He highlighted the necessity of ensuring that we as professionals are incorporating the teenager’s social changes into our interventions with them. This makes so much sense because without this awareness we probably would not be speaking their language!

Dr. Coleman’s book ‘Stage’ of which I won a copy! Is about the Significance of the parent, Two-way communication, Authority and the nature of authority, the Generation gap and Emotion. I am looking forward to reading this and once finished perhaps will share my thoughts more.

But on to movement! Moreover, how it benefits the child who is learning disabled.



Why Dance Movement Psychotherapy is good for children with learning disabilities


My dmpt process is an awakening through a pedagogical process for the purposes of opening up possibilities of learning as well as to act as a prophylaxis in preventing further disturbances in the child that essentially come from the society that we are living in.

The child is not embraced in all his/her humanity for having the ability to understand and relate to others from another level. They are seen as strange and not as intelligent as us superior ones!

In applying the dance movement therapy, programme the concerns are with the behaviour, the emotional and the spontaneous characteristics of his movements rather than with any aesthetic orientation

The special Schools work with the learning-disabled child through a sensory educational programme that stimulates the five senses. However, they often forget the sixth one, the kinaesthetic one that is another channel for knowing and understanding life and one that is very much tops during the first infancy.


The learning-disabled child:

Movement says something about the child, his mood, his flexibility or rigidity and movement in relationship can enable him to change or at least to have a new experience or sensation. As an example, the child who has difficulties in completing schoolwork may not have a cognitive impairment at all. Her learning difficulties may be a result of emotional stresses.

The experience of joy and pleasure is fundamental throughout the (dmp) approach and a good relationship with the therapist central to the process (Levy, 1988). In regards the needs of these children, these are understood as them needing a way to express their emotions and have the chance to address their communication problems (Karkou and Sanderson, 2000). The (dmp) therapist working with learning disabled child places prime importance on the development of the body image. Having a good background in dance, they use praise and touch. Praise in the context of person-centred therapy where the empowerment of the individual is paramount through the core conditions (Rogers, 1980) of unconditional positive regard, congruence and empathy. That is, avoiding disempowering attitudes in the relationship.

Since some children with disabilities remain on the pre-verbal level, non-verbal techniques such as dance therapy are the best as they reach and activate the child. Revitalise them through the body, re-establishing a sense of trust in oneself and others; aid in re-socialisation and provides an outlet for discharge of tension, frustration and hostility.

The idea is to keep alive the movement impulse (Bartenieff) the root of all development in working with the emotional wellbeing in children as well as replace intellectualized movement which tends to encourage dissociation of mind and body with harmony and wellbeing through breathing, muscular fluctuation and feeling (Bartenieff)

Through a process of focusing on the care/affection and love of the child in the learning

Process, on the feeling states and stimulation of self-esteem and social skills the dmp

Process can address:

  • Conflictive behaviours
  • Lack of concentration
  • The expression of aggression
  • Expansion and expression of emotional states




Spread the love