Émilie Barrette is a graduate of the École supérieure de ballet du Québec (ESBQ) and of the Collegial de Ballet Divertimento program. Having completed the program of the Alternate Route of the National Centre for Dance Therapy with the Grands Ballets Canadiens, she then began her master's degree in dance at the University of Quebec in Montreal in order to enrich her practice of adapted dance.
Always looking for new training opportunities, she has attended various continuing education courses in Dance Pedagogy in Montreal and elsewhere, such as the Adaptive Dance Teachers Training of Boston Ballet.
Since graduating from the program at the NCDT, Émilie has had the privilege of being associated in various projects, particularly with children, adolescents, and adults with an ASD and / or an intellectual disability.
Today she will share her perspective on her work with people with the ASD.
"Autism Spectrum Disorder, or autism, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts brain development. The result is that most individuals experience communication problems, difficulty with social interactions and a tendency to repeat specific patterns of behaviour. They may also have a markedly restricted range of activities and interests’’ (Autism Canada)
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.
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!
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.
The importance of music, visual tools to frame space and time, and props and images that inspire movement.
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 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.