How does dance impact the life of someone with ASD? What benefits can it bring?
I think dance is a tool that can open a new window into ourselves and a way to connect with others. It is also a way for caregivers to meet the autistic person, to see them in a different context.
It is a privileged access to what the autistic person is in all their uniqueness; this access can last a moment or, other times, the whole dance session. Dance can become an opportunity for a person to express themselves easily, without judgment and at their own pace, for a while.
How does your training and tools impact your approach?
My training has allowed me to wear different glasses in my meeting with the autistic person. It has taught me to listen with my eyes and body, one of my best allies during my sessions. It has allowed me to be open to different ways of expressing through the body, to be flexible in my toolbox in order to make dance accessible to everyone. There is no right or wrong movement, all movement is self-expression. Movement is life!
How do you make sure you meet the different needs of the participants you work with?
I make sure they can access a recreational dance class where the environment is safe for them. To do this, I make sure they are seen, heard and validated, regardless of their needs.
What adaptations are essential for the smooth running of your classes?
The importance of music, visual tools to frame space and time, and props and images that inspire movement.
Do you have specific objectives on the development of the participants and their relationship to dance?
My primary goal is for them to feel welcome, accepted as they are and to have fun being themselves in a supervised dance space.
What are you most proud of?
What makes me most proud is to see them come back to dance lessons, to enjoy playing with movement, to see them being proud of themselves and what they have been able to accomplish in joy.